Length of game influences buying?


I’ve bought 62 HG/COG between Steam/Google Play, some on both. When it comes to buying games, I won’t buy one below 200k words unless it has a “very” interesting theme, or is from an author that made a game I enjoy.


Sure, but to my knowledge it has outperformed all the longer free games in both the HG And official catelogue. So it’s not just that it’s free :slight_smile:


It’s been up for the longest, too, but I don’t think that’s the biggest factor. Dragon has 1 million downloads on Android and probably everyone on the forum has read it, so I agree that it’s just because it’s an awesome game. :slight_smile:


I’m not sure that wordcount is the selling point for me, though I’m certainly more inclined to pay for a larger one. The reason for this is because I know that a big wordcount doesn’t necessarily translate into a longer game or more engaging story. There could just be a boatload of branches, and while that sounds awesome it unfortunately cuts down individual playthroughs significantly. And that’s where I think that the standard advert line that CoG gives us - the one where they tell us all of the cool things we can do, and all of the little ways we can affect them - does the shorter games a disservice. Because when I read those, and then look at the wordcount, the math is not kind. I’ll still play the demo if it looks like it might be interesting, but I’m going in with some healthy scepticism.


Whilst I agree with all you’ve said, and would love for every customer to be a rational agent of some sort, they aren’t really.

People here often say they want longer games due to branching available and such. I used to think that they cared about the branching, the wordcount was just a rough indicator, but now I’m not too sure.

For one, many people have said they wouldn’t buy a game under xyz length. Even if there is a free demo, that means they won’t be able to tell how interactive or "new’ or innovative it is. They’ll just keep assuming longer games are always better.

There’s also the fact that long games aren’t always the most efficient.
I was playing one of my favourite COG/HG games yesterday, and noticed they had copy pasted the same whole paragraph 3 times, in each only changing 1 word.

But the custoner can’t really tell how “efficient” a game is, so many simply don’t care. And when everyone pads their game we’recommend back to the beginning but with stupidly high standard’s that many will find themselves short of.

For example, in the game I’m making I’m trying to make a (mostly) completely new group combat system.
If I do it once, use go subs so I can change enemies, strenght etc. that would work, be a bit harder.

I could also go the easier route (which I won’t do because I want to add a sort of sandbox at the end) of just copy and pasting the same combat text and code for each combat, which could add a few thousand or more words.

I mean that’s just what I think as someone trying to make a code-efficient, new-is game, what used to be an indicator or guide of quality is now a standard.

(FWIW I do think there should be more shorter, cheaper games available, and longer, more expensive games are great too, but if most people buy the longer ones there’s less incentive to make an efficient, albeit shorter, game)


Well sure, you’ll always have people assuming long games = better because bigger is better (which leads to buying a long, inefficient game and grumbling about how CoG has gone so downhill and blah blah I read reviews for kicks sometimes they can get weird) but that’s not everyone.

Some of us do very much care for word length and branching. I dropped one demo because it didn’t give me any variation to start with. Most of my favorite games are the ones with massive levels of branching, even if they’re shorter, and I’ve lost interest in games that are inefficient or padded (the number of WIPs that have lost me because of the insane infodumping). I can usually gauge from the demo how its going to go. I’m not the average in that regard, but I dont think you should ignore feedback because of that.

My main thing is that CoG is still very much a growing company, and the standards from Choice of Dragon to the new releases has already changed dramatically. Making good games bad by padding and setting a standard 200k word count will affect how the games are viewed, as will adding short, well made games to the roster.

The incentive is always less, which sucks (especially since I’m one of the finicky buyers), but it’s still worth it at this point to try to set different standards. I dont play short games because every short game I’ve played has been unsatisfying. Prove me wrong and I will look at it differently. Sell a good 70k story to a new player trawling through Google Play and bring them to the site thinking that short games aren’t so bad.

Yeah, the sales will suck comparatively and for some people it’s a turnoff, but I think it’s better to encourage variety at this point while there is definitely room for growth and a change in the expectations of the fanbase. There’s room for innovation here, and it will affect in the long run. I dont think padding to meet an arbitrary standard is the answer, anymore than I think shoehorning in an arbitrary romance because of a poll


I think it’s funny we all regard a 70k story as short. 70k words is 7k short of being the same length as the first Harry Potter. While it’s the shortest in the series, it’s hardly a short story


Short stories are 5k-15k. The novella is traditionally around 15k-50k. Novels are upwards of 50k, though anything less than 100k is a short novel imho. Here’s a good reference:


I meant not a short story as in… a story that isn’t short I guess, not like the classification of short stories. I probably should’ve specified that


Isn’t HP1 like 350 pages? That’s the equivalent of like 175k words.


Yeah, I got that. It was more your word count example that got me thinking. I recall going through school and people would complain about having to read Lord of the Flies or Fahrenheit 451 or whatever assigned book, and my mind would boggle. They’re not long books. I would always be annoyed that we weren’t supposed to read more than one chapter per two nights of homework or whatever.


I think the preferred length of some Players might be influenced by the length of the first CoG they enjoyed. I’ m relative new into this Kind of Stories, so I feel 100k is a good length. If the First one I really liked had been around 30k I might think this was enough for a good Story.


According to https://wordcounter.io/blog/how-many-words-are-in-harry-potter/


Well damn. I guess the half empty pages and the weird way they use multiple spaces between words ends up padding the page count.


Sure, but you’re going to read (or are expected to read) all 70k all the time. There’s not 5k devoted to flavortext for a punchy character, a scene inaccessible because you chose to hang out with Ron in chapter 7 instead of going to class, a list of questions you can pester Hagrid with, and a few dozen words per every failed stat check


Harry: “Hagrid, can I ask you a question about Professor Snape?”

Hagrid: “Sorry Harry, but your Hagrid-rep is too low for me to answer. I should not have told you that. I should definitely not have told you that.”


Now I want a fan game that’s just full of this


I feel like there’s an untapped market for meta CoGs like that


I don’t care about the amount of words. For me it depends on the theme of the game (I’m quite picky), the choices given and the storyline and characters. But most of all the price is a big factor. If I think it’s too expensive then I won’t buy it.


Problem is, they ARE shortish stories if you look at single, rather than total word counts. Most games would be novellas to short novels based on their playthrough lengths which is what players are seeing. So yep, unless people are playing multiple times, some will feel as if they haven’t got their 100,000 words worth and say they’re far too short, which is true because they only read 30,000 of them :slight_smile: