Length of game influences buying?

I normally look through how games are doing on google, and I’m sometimes surprised to see that certain games that have a high rating see to be downloaded few times (even for themes that I thought would have been attractive). I wonder, is there a certain number of words below which you will not consider downloading/buying a game?

  • I don’t care about word count. The theme of the game is the most important for me
  • I don’t care about word count. The name of the author is the most important for me
  • I don’t care about word count. Other considerations are more important.
  • I won’t download/buy anything below 30,000 words in length
  • I won’t download/buy anything below 50,000 words in length
  • I won’t download/buy anything below 100,000 words in length
  • I won’t download/buy anything below 150,000 words in length
  • I won’t download/buy anything below 200,000 words in length
  • I won’t download/buy anything below 250,000 words in length
  • I won’t download/buy anything below 300,000 words in length
  • I won’t download/buy anything below 400,000 words in length (!)

0 voters


Good poll


XXXXXX words counts…mean nothing to me . I don’t even know how much is that anyway! LOL if I were to count how much I wrote ? i ask someone to do it for meh lol .

So no , I try the demo…that help me decide if I wanna buy or not .

I also do not go for author names , Some author write great stuff…some don’t…I read everything I can get my hand on . And in my eyes they are all great .


I honestly can not answer this poll.

With IF games in the past few years, my experience is that anything below 150,000 words is generally flawed in one manner or another.

There are exceptions such as Cataphrak’s recent Broadside release at 85,000 words or some of @Jacic’s stories that I enjoy.

Other games such as Oteme(sp) stories in the Japanese or Korean style can get away with about 100,000 words or more if art and voice acting are up to snuff but otherwise they in general require 200,000+ words to make them worth their higher prices.

Perhaps I can help better with more focused questioning.


When your on a tight budget but want to indulge a little, you want to get your moneys worth. Lately, the game prices have seemingly been rising for small games. I don’t have the resources nor the patients to indulge that.


The poll is biased as don’t include a main key factor HOW MUCH GAME COST? if 100,000 words cost 6 euros and 500,000 cost same i would say except 100,000 is more famous Most people would go for more word count. I will be blunt sincere I operating like that except i know author then i bought it right away. It is logic want more for same money


I don’t particularly pay attention to the word count - I usually take a look at the demo and see if it’s to my liking, then buy it if it is. Some authors are an automatic buy if I like the sound of the concept.


Prices can vary quite a lot, too. I got a few bad reviews for The Magician’s Burden, because it was 230k words and cost $5, which the readers deemed too expensive.

For a reference, there are some 60k games that cost $3 and 100k ones that cost $6.


Exactly in most people perception how much it cost is important I know people who look a catalogue of games and say This cost x and is bigger i will bought the big. I understand that. Due forme more words is more easy that end up with more role-playing value as for me re play is important.


Good poll @adrao, I’m curious about this as well.
I’m usually less influenced by the wordcount than the genre and whether the demo grabs my attention. I personally won’t exclude read low count games if they look interesting, just as long games aren’t an automatic buy for me either.

I almost kind of wish games had a total wordcount and an average playthrough length included in the descriptions to give you an idea of how long an individual story is and the amount of replay there’s likely to be there. That would give you a better idea for story length than a straight total word count which can be influenced by branching and coding efficiency. (But I’m diverting, so back to topic :slight_smile: )


I’ve included playthrough lengths in the bullet points for my last couple stories because I think it’s useful information for the reader. It shows them how much replay ability there is and how long they should expect it to be. But, HG always leaves that bullet point out. :man_shrugging:


They most likely do not want to set expectations for other authors. It can be a slippery slope from a publishing perspective, even if I agree with why you would include such to begin with.


I do take all points made in this thread so far (which are very good).

I understand the point of game cost with regards to length and replayability (a very important one!). However, what I’m trying to understand in this poll is something simpler (that comes from reviews of some of my games… “I usually don’t download anything so short” (when the game is 144k!), Just whether people are happy to even give them a try…

And yes, I’m also starting to consider stating play through length


There is actionable feedback and non-actionable feedback. In my experience, these types of declarations are made in spite (at worse) or to cover for the real reasons why they wanted to give a low rating. As such, I would consider these as non-actionable.


Perhaps, but you could say the same thing about total length, too. They used to not include that, either, but the benefits of including both lengths definitely outweigh whatever negatives there might be, in my opinion.


As I said, I agree with you but looking at it from the publishing perspective - this is the argument: Including these numbers will set expectations for the consumer - they will take a number they don’t even understand and use it to bash everyone with it.

Once such a standard is set, then the consumer’s expectations will require authors to adhere to a minimum play-through as a “general rule” even if such a thing really isn’t applicable.

Depth and breadth is something that most consumers have no clue about. The people on this forum are the educated and the minority that do.

Opening the door to this would hurt everyone developing HG games and those like @Cataphrak who experiment with short stories because the vast majority of gamers in the various marketplaces will see a number and automatically think bigger is better. Even Steam consumers that know more gaming terms in general won’t know this.


I’d argue that “This game is too short” can be actionable. under certain circumstances.

I’m pretty satisfied with the way Foraker turned out specifically because most of the negative feedback (almost all of it, in fact) was over how short it was, as opposed to any gripes with the mechanics of the mass combat system or the random event system, because those were the systems I was writing Foraker to test. If those systems worked well enough for people to want more of it, then I’d consider that a vote of confidence.


This is exactly why I would consider it non-actionable in your case. The length was a non-issue going into release because the entire purpose of the development was to test mechanics systems.

I agree but the responses @adrao were referring too specifically are the general comments that don’t lead to anything the author can take action on. If the feedback said:

or something that pointed to an actionable cure, then these types of comments are totally valid.

For the most part, most one sentence “spite” orientated comments don’t lead to ways of improving the next project. At least in my experiences.


I’d also argue, some stories are as long as they need to be and lengthening out the word count doesn’t always make them a better read. Sure you could make them longer, but you have to watch that the word count isn’t being padded out for the sake of it, it needs to be solid story contributing content.

It’s odd, in traditional book publishing the opposite tends to be true where you often have to try and prune everything down to make everything written as essential to the storyline as possible without extra stuff to slow it down. In choice games, longer seems to definitely be seen as better overall.


I am not a professional in terms of feedback and criticism criteria. My criteria while give feedback and know the author Is giving the feedback I know the author needs and in base of what is the market for that game . Puting oir friend @Cataphrak here … If I am testing Guns my feedback including lengths are in base of it is a saga , and how it gets integrated into lore and what a more casual gamer could feel. It is playable with a character made by a casual that doesn’t know mechanisms.

In Mecha ace feedback should be more based in action and if the dynamics with characters ro has sense in base of our mentality. It is more important how stats interact with combat and different positions etc…

Length is same time measurable and not. same number could be long or not in base person. Say something about X feel short is a good feedback (in my opinion if you put WHY IT FEEL SHORT. ) Aand of course what will you do to help fix the issue you have.