Just Cause dev: Most games traded in because they're too short

Avalanche boss Christofer Sundberg claims most games don't offer enough replayability; says Just Cause 2 still has "hundreds of thousands" of daily players.

Just Cause developer Avalanche Studios founder Christofer Sundberg believes most games are too short and that is why they are traded in. Speaking with Edge, Sundberg said games that are longer--or more replayable--are less likely to be sold back to retailers.

"I'm sure it's been an issue but that's because games have been too short," Sundberg said about why used games have been a hot topic of late. "I mean, when you can play a game through from 8 to 10 hours, I would return the game too, because there's no reason for players to play it again."

Sundberg said Just Cause 2, released in March 2012, still has "hundreds of thousands" of daily players, demonstrating the strength of a highly replayable game.

"If you're offering little variation, then there's no motivation for the player to keep that game--unless they want to have a nice bookshelf. That's why we answered that with Just Cause. I go into game stores each week and I always go to the used-game boxes--I usually don't find that many [copies of Just Cause]."

Mario and Zelda company Nintendo shared a similar opinion. Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime said developers concerned over used-game sales should make more compelling and replayable titles so that gamers do not trade them in.

The latest project from Avalanche Studios is Mad Max, which will be released in 2014 published by Warner Bros. The car combat-focused game does not feature any multiplayer.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

378 comments
epichotcheese
epichotcheese

Hell no, Portal series is short but I won't trade that in. Same situation with many other shorter games. I prefer short quality single player game rather than a long ass game with tons of shitty missions.

mjswooosh
mjswooosh

And this is why I am happy to pay $60 for new games like Just Cause 2 (or, say, Skyrim). This dev "gets it" and should be rewarded. Sadly, too few publishers/devs give a rats ass about producing a better product that is actually worth our hard-earned dollars. Too many would rather force us to buy new by trying to eliminate the used games market entirely because it is somehow considered "unfair competition". Thankfully, gamers rose up and let their voices be heard and, for now at least, Microsoft's attempt to fuck us over has been thwarted. I love finding a deal on used games as much as the next guy...but for the truly great titles made by devs who understand all this and actually care about what gamers want, I will continue to purchase new games as much as I can afford.

SebCrakpot1234
SebCrakpot1234

It never understood why a game with linear action 8-10 hours campaign was the same price as big RPG game like Skyrim.

OOLuigiOo
OOLuigiOo

$10 For Max Payne was worth it. $1 for Just Cause 2 on OnLive was worth it.. Same for Dues X. $5 for Hitman Abso as well as Sleeping Dogs and Hitman is free on a certain legit website.


Cheap single player games only.

AceBalls
AceBalls

Arma2, DayZ and Arma3. Open world. Sand box. Random elements. Permadeath. Never ending amazing fun. 

Scorpion1813
Scorpion1813

I've still got a number of games that are short, but offer replay value. Yet I've sold long games that I know I will never play again.

It's got nothing to do with length, it's all about replay value.

BravoOneActual
BravoOneActual

Quick Gamestop Search, D.C. Metro area:  Just Cause 2:  $34.99,used, for 360.  $29.99,used, for PS3. 

No new copies within 100 miles.

All stores in 30 mile vicinity claim "low stock" except for two.

Hmm.

Masoodahmedkk
Masoodahmedkk

I thought Just Cause 2 was released in March 2010.

duron2
duron2

I agree. Its another reason why I never buy games for the full price, I always wait a few years to buy them because I dont think 3 quarters of the games in the industry are worth 60$.

Disturbed_88
Disturbed_88

8-10 hours??? These days in most FPS games even 6 hours single player is a luxury... And of course games that have mediocre/bad multiplayer are rentals at best (and $60 price tags are a joke).

Well said Mr Sundberg, well said...

Hicser03
Hicser03

I def agree but sometimes the game doesn't have to be all that replayable or long it just needs to be a good game and ill keep it because the memory of the experience makes it hard to part with.

tightwad34
tightwad34

One of the main things I look for in a game is replayability. One bad thing about it is there are a ton of good games out there so if I want to replay some games I may risk missing out on something else. Then something else will come out and so on and so on....

lilmcnessy
lilmcnessy

I thought Mad Max looked pretty cool but I'm not so sure if it's being made as the same guys who did Just Cause

Chai_Tea
Chai_Tea

I would agree.  My game Library only contains games that I have put in 60 hours or more. 

Daddio93
Daddio93

I swear this is the third or fourth article from a Just Cause dev speaking about stuff other games lack and why they're not successful, "unlike Just Cause which has this, this and this..."

Let's all be reminded of things Just Cause doesn't have that gamers love - good story, good characters, good gunplay


Shanks_D_Chop
Shanks_D_Chop

This guy is still slagging off other company's work, huh?

And what cojones he has to make him bold enough to criticise other productions on their "lack of variation"... Wow... A lead dev from Just Cause slagging off repetition in games...

shaktiIIIgta
shaktiIIIgta

That's a just statement, it may be obvious as the economy gets worse you have to pay for what you really think is worthy, and probably that is not a game which gameplay time is too short.


svaubel
svaubel

I share some of these feelings.

Ive learned my lesson about buying any game without researching it first. Gameplay time is a big factor in my choices. I refuse to pay $60 for a game that is going to last me under 10 hours. Yet I will fork over full price day one for Skyrim, why? Because I know I can burn over 100 hours on it and still not do everything there is to see. 

Funny how the terrible X1 reveal and its 'games with guns' E3 suddenly has all these studios on the gamers' side.

Megavideogamer
Megavideogamer

And if the game is just bad. Such a Bombman actzero. Xbox One too many games like Bomberman actzero or duke Nukem Forever will bring disaster to Xbox One.

Since trading games in on Xbox One will be more difficult. if the game is too short or is just bad

chieflion
chieflion

WHERE THE FUCK IS JUST CAUSE 3!!!!

Tiwill44
Tiwill44

I'm hoping Just Cause 3 will have more destructible environments (rather than just the 'red' stuff) and perhaps multi-player. At least co-op. I would probably still be playing Just Cause 2 if it had that.

wolf503
wolf503

Really? Once I finished Just Cause 2 it sat there doing nothing until I traded it in towards a PS4. It was for a....just cause xD so sorry I couldn't help it. I kept my copy of GTA IV though cause that's lasted me since day 1 release.

Guy_Brohski
Guy_Brohski

Just Cause 2 is my most played game this gen, it's freakin awesome.

savageboi16
savageboi16

Correct, that's why all games need to be open world!

Aletunda
Aletunda

Definitely agree, sometimes a game may not need to be more than 10 hours (single player) if it is justified, and contains content that will make me want to play it again, or some form of multiplayer/coop, Gears of war is a fine example of this, the campaign was designed to be quite short (if I recall it was something like 5-8 hour) but is a great coop experience, or playing many more hours in horde mode and the online competitive, it becomes a whole package that is worth the cost.

acelogan1989
acelogan1989

it's fine for me if the game include mods support

Guy_Brohski
Guy_Brohski

Wow this article states Just Cause 2 released in 2012,  wtf Gamespot do you even try anymore?

holtrocks
holtrocks

These guys get it, you cannot expect me to pay $60 for a 10-12 hour game.

jsmoke03
jsmoke03

i dont think its game length...theres no incentive for a lot of people to keep a game after they are done with it. thats what a lot of my friends think, and its why they trade them in. not everyone collects...

hadlee73
hadlee73

Length isn't necessarily relevant when deciding whether to trade in a game or not. Miyamoto hit the nail on the head the other day when he compared games to toys, and how people won't trade in the games that they want to play with over and over again (like a good toy). If you play a long game and don't think you'd ever want to play it again, why would you hold onto it just because its long?

Shinnok789
Shinnok789

Also a game doesn't need to be big to be replayable. I still play God of War 1 and 2 from  time to time even if i played them 7-8 times allready, because they're fun. I also replayed and will play again games like Infamous 1 and 2, Darksiders 1 and 2, Portal 1 and 2 and others.

But imho the best example of what a replayable game concept looks like is Diablo 2, if you like rpg-s. I'm not a big fan of Blizzard especially after the huge failure with Diablo 3 (i still regret the 60 euros i payed for prepurchasing it). But considering that Diablo 2 was released in 2000 and people still play it and replay it 13 years later i dare the developers to match that if they truly can.

fortunad0
fortunad0

@OOLuigiOo It's such a luxury to live in a game-saturated market that forcibly drives game prices down so quickly.  A lot of the games you mentioned are worth well over the prices you listed for the quality and amount of gameplay they provide but (at least on Steam), the ability to get games for 1/2 to 1/4 the release price is so common that it creates a much lower sense of value.  I wonder how many people really buy games on Steam at the 59.99 retail release price?

Speaking of the "59.99" price model, that's something the industry has to detach themselves from as well.  You can't have some companies (Bungie, Naughty Dog, Bioware, etc.) releasing top tier AAA games at 59.99 and also expect the crappy game some other company shat out to sell for the same 59.99.  It's not fair to the developer or the consumer to create artificial price points like this just because it is the perceived price ceiling of the current generation.  Games really need to be priced according to their content and quality since most titles dive 20-50% in price in the first two months alone.

udubdawgz
udubdawgz

@OOLuigiOo lol, no kidding. you should see the total price of my used game collection.

it's crazy good.

b1ttersk
b1ttersk

@Scorpion1813 which has a differect level of attraction from person to person depending on the games aesthetic and genre

udubdawgz
udubdawgz

@Scorpion1813 that rationale would be fine if you're saying that you rent first ALWAYS or are somehow able to play ALL your games before buying them.

why?   how can you possibly know if a game truly has replay value for you?

udubdawgz
udubdawgz

@BravoOneActual thus, the need for BOTH physical AND digital.  used and new.

that helps gamers and the industry.

udubdawgz
udubdawgz

@duron2 i absolutely KNOW too many gamers feel they must have new games immediately. 

do you guys have any clue how many consumer muscles you'd be flexing if you could show some friggin restraint (regularly and from time to time) and hold off on buying those madden and shooter repeat games?

i mean, i'm a huge elderscrolls fan, but, i wait months before buying it.  (with all of it's dumbing-down do you think i'm going to wait awhile before buying the next one? hail ya.)

developers and publishers and all those huge companies need to get a clue and buying their games upon release isn't the way to give it to em.

udubdawgz
udubdawgz

@Disturbed_88 and, that's why supporting great, but, short games hurts gamers.

they then have NO reason to make great, but, long games.

udubdawgz
udubdawgz

@Daddio93 nothing beats gameplay.

story, characters, cut-scenes, voice-acting, graphics, and, lol, "cinematic experience" are WORTHLESS if the gameplay sux.

games are NOT books and movies.

imo, lol

udubdawgz
udubdawgz

@jsmoke03 and, i then collect good games for cheap prices.

just like it should be.

Scorpion1813
Scorpion1813

@udubdawgz

No, no no...You are missing my point. I don't buy games based on replay value. I BUY them based on how interested I am in the gameplay. And I judge this from watching gameplay footage. If it interests me, I buy the game.

It does not matter how much I like the game, and it does not matter how long the game is. If I've played a game, and feel that I will never play it again, I may end up selling it. If, however, I think I will enjoy playing the game again, I keep it.

Replay value is not a factor when BUYING the game, but SELLING it (trading it in or whatever).

udubdawgz
udubdawgz

@Scorpion1813 @udubdawgz i hear you.  that's why the ability to rent games is so important.

or, to share games multiple times.

in order to improve our chances of spending our money wisely.

msoft wants that all gone.  and, they want complete control.

Scorpion1813
Scorpion1813

@udubdawgz 

I rarely sell my games either, but there have been times when I have. And I carefully picked out the few that I did sell.

I do like replaying older games that I like, but there are still games that I end up buying that I never touch again.

I should probably be more careful with my purchases, but I may miss out on some great games that way.

Each to their own, but, games are not really traded in because of their length, but because of their lack of replay value.

udubdawgz
udubdawgz

@Scorpion1813 @udubdawgz ah, i see we are of completely different mindsets then.

i never sell my games and, therefore, i never buy a game that has no serious replay value, however, that value is obtained.