Recently an article ran on Kotaku about how the developer of Firewatch responded to someone asking for a refund on the game because they felt it was too short. In the comments to that section I responded that I believed 18 dollars was too much for that length of game. As per usual, I received several stars from people who agreed, lots of neutral discussion, and some vitriol (it IS the internet after all).

First let me clarify, Asking for a rebate AFTER you played through the game is, in my mind, akin to asking for a refund on a sandwich you already ate. It’s pretty shitty. Can you do it? Sure. Some places may laugh in your face though, while others may actually refund your money.

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My issue is with the 18$ as a price point in general. But that’s not my purpose. My purpose is in the argument, “A movie is X dollars and lasts X hours, what’s the difference?”

This is false equivalence.

Video games are not movies. I’m sorry I had to write that, but it’s true. The enjoyment that you get from movies and the enjoyment that you get from video games are different and cannot be compared on the same metric. If that were the case then my response is, “Sex/masturbation is free, ergo you idiots should stop paying for games,” but of course, this is a nonsensical statement- just as comparing time/dollar of a movie and time/dollar of a video game is.

To further clarify why I believe 18$ for Firewatch is a bit too high:

  • What was the last game Campo Santos put out? Anyone? Anyone? They’re an unknown quantity.
  • Bastion, which was a 5 hourish game cost 15$ on release - I think this is the sweet spot for brand new games from unproven studios.
  • Bastion, was heaped with praise. Firewatch got a “It’s pretty good with a few flaws.” If you wanna compare flawed apples to flawed apples - Bastion Metacritic: 89. Firewatch: 76.
  • There are so many indie games released. I’m unsure what this one does beyond having an interesting art style to warrant me purchasing it over, say, Gone Home which is only 2 dollars more and a known variable at this point.
  • They could have looked at other options: An episodic release schedule, PC exclusivity with a PS4/XB1 port if it’s a hit, something...else?

Anyway, what are your thoughts? Agree/Disagree? Have at it