Every game has its own value. Every console has its own value. Most of the values are personal, but there are generally accepted values as well. These values has everything to do with consumers’ buying habits. For example, a game with low value will not get purchased on the release day or at high price. There are bunch of other values, but at core all values affect the customers’ willingness to purchase the game.
Above: A game with high value
All games share the three most basic points of value; content (what kind of content the game has and how much), the playability (how well the game plays out on its intended way) and replay value (how long it takes to exhaust the game’s content.) Replay value is in direct link with playability, as most players do not want to play all over again a game that has bad controls, or have bad playability in general. The content is something that most of the times goes over the other two, because it is the content that people are looking for from games. These days most games rarely have all these. What they lack most commonly is content. Sometimes there is a lot to replay, but it has no content. Often the game has good controls, most likely it being part of a long running series, but then pretty much nil-replay value or new content.
The game above is an old game, a game most people do not recognize at all. The game has all three basic points of value right; it plays well, its contents are good and it has replay value. OK, as it is a shooter it has little less replay value to people who are not in the genre. HALO kids won’t like it at all, or the general populace overall. Still, because all of its values are in place, people are willing to pay 150€ for it just like that. Most people wouldn’t pay 30€ on any game in the stores nowadays, and they shouldn’t. Battle Mania Daiginjou equals some strange and small game you might find in your neighbouring store that you’ll never see again. The difference is that Battle Mania Daiginjou was made for the people who like side scrolling shooter by people who like side scrolling shooters. It is a game that was crafted in form that customers wanted. Sadly, it was produced in very limited fashion and was only released in Japan. Compare this to that small and unknown game in your store. Let’s call this game… Metal Gear Solid 4.
Both of the games are aimed at a certain audience rather than customers in general. They both have certain kind of content that the fans of genre/series like and expect without a doubt (Battle Mania being a shooter, and MGS4 having “complex and deep plot.”) Both games had developers that wanted to make the best game and had a passion for the game. They divert from each other in the sense that BaMaDai was made to please the customers first. On the other hand, MGS4 customers were made to ejaculate over how artistically masterful the director and the game dev.team is. Players do not really value how artistically free the or how artistic the game is at its core as determined by the director or dev.team. Players care only about the game as a product, not as a piece of art. BaMaDai in this sense is closer to Sistine Chapel than MGS4. MGS4 had really, really big budget, even if you can’t really tell that. BaMaDai had rather small budget and you can’t see that at all. Battle Mania Daiginjou perhaps shows best how art direction and short lease can produce a great game that is still talked about these days among game enthusiasts. MGS4 is your classical bloated Hollywood-esque film, that had everything going, but never really went anywhere. MGS4 never bombed in sales, but I guess it never sold that well, as I still can find even limited edition boxes lying around in numerous shops. I guess people don’t value it that much. MGS4 also had a development time of several years. BaMaDai had barely one. Still, BaMaDai arguably is better game. The other one, without a doubt, is a better movie.
OK, I bet people are laughing at me when I say I paid over two hundred dollars of a Sega MegaDrive game, but I laugh louder back when people are paying 60 bucks or more for a Tekken or HALO game. They’d argue “why to buy a game that you can emulate?” Fact is, that if there is no monetary investment, the game has no staying value or anything else to the user. Once they’ve finished their games, they never return to it.
The value in games that are produced these days is without a doubt smaller than the games of the past. It has as much to do with the audience as it is with the developers. More on the developers part thou. Let’s face it; it would be better if we got a second big industrial crash in video games. Perhaps then developers would stop making games that people rather pirate than purchase.