Length of game influences buying?


Personally, it depends whether or not the potential consumer’s preference. Each game needs target demographic, so you need to fit your games with the targets.

On personal side though, most of the time I didn’t really care about the word count that much. The theme and the story matters more to me. But to be honest, sometimes I do passed on some games because it feels too short for me.


On the phone, but I think sometimes the complains about length are more about the lack of a satisfying conclusion. I’ve played games where it really feels like the author just wanted to end it because they ran out of steam. That also gets worse if you like the game, you want it to continue. I know I am guilty of that as well, since the end of FH was not the originally envisioned one, but it was the lesser of evils.


@malinryden I will ditto what you just said.

People don’t always know why they like or dislike something. Figuring that out can take mental work and reflection that people don’t always have the time, energy or inclination for. If you put them on the spot they may reach for an easy answer.

Personally I think cover art is probably much more important than word count in the initial buying decision. People don’t even see the word count figure until after they’ve decided to examine the game more closely.

I think the high word count titles will change expectations. Some people want to be immersed in games for a long time and will feel disappointed if that immersion is cut “short”.


Cover art doesn’t really grab me. It’s a combination of the Demo + COG reviews. I’m pretty new to this reading medium so generally rely on feedback, recommendations and my impression of the Demo before deciding to purchase.


While it’s a nice extra if the cover art looks good I don’t think that’s the most important. If I’d judge the games based on that I’d definitely had missed out on many good games (Evertree Inn for example).


I haven’t look at all a cover before buy a game and Many of my favorites have not the most beautiful cover ever. But I agree mainstream audience buy based partly in The cover and the use of several key words reason there are in app stores so many games with similar names.


Cover Art is nice, I must admit, I first looked into Wayhaven because of the Symbol. It caught my attention, can’t even say why. But thats not what made me buy the Game. It might therefore help


Guess you are right here. The perfect example for this would be Undercover Agent which if I recal correctly got many bad reviews bc people looked at the cover and then they assumed that it was genderlocked to female.


It wasn’t just the cover art: the game’s description lacks the usual “play as male or female; gay, straight, etc.” (because you never explicitly choose your protagonist’s gender) and has

• Rescue your best friend or leave him to his fate
• Avoid detection or kill those who suspect you
• Find love with your handler or even your enemy’s son

so that paired with the cover art led people to assume that it was genderlocked (even though this is against CoG’s policies). So I would say it was a matter of the description, as well. It shouldn’t have gotten bad reviews based on that, though!


I actively look for character-based stories, with lots of role play opportunity-- and romance (Yes, I am one of those frustrating buyers who has never played a game without a romance option.)

So it’s not so much that I choose wordcount over quality–it’s that the kind of mechanics I look for are natural wordcount sponges; choices should have paragraphs of flavor text only visible on certain paths or heavy scene variation, or the rp experience/romances aren’t going to feel substantial. Therefore, to have any kind of meaningful story or pacing and the kind of structure I’m looking for, the wordcounts should be on the higher side as a general rule.

And I was totally one of those people who judged by the cover art before I got really into CoG. After being so aggressively proven wrong (one of my favorite games of all time had not bad but not interesting to me cover art) I avoid that pitfall now.


But Superlatives and Heart of the House also had a female cover art, which cause no such misconception :slight_smile:

so i think it is an isolated case… such as @rinari mentioned :slight_smile:


Yeah, I stand corrected. It’s been a while ago so I guess some details slipped my mind.


I’m not sure how I feel about this poll as someone in the beginning stages of my WiP-- whilst I aim to achieve roughly 250-300k words, a lot of discussion makes it seem like 150k is short, when I have always considered it medium size (for a HG here) and large for a project time-wise.

I don’t think I’ll make tons of money off it (I’m guessing £3,000 maybe, after a few years) and am not dependant on the money, but the fact I can’t put in tons of time due to 4 A levels and work means a “medium sized” 250k project could take me a whole year (360 days roughly)

Although I think it’s now moving away more to skilled authors who have more time availabLe or can already go above 1k/hour, which I can only reach when typing non-code or copy and pasting code (which I no longer do after being taught the magic of gosub), so it probably won’t do well in comparison to similar games when released


Well… i really don’t think the length of words really influencing the purchasing of the games extremely, most importantly is the substance and story plot within the story , in whether or not you can guide your readers to complete all the “loose ends” …

what i also learn from the discussion was that sometime it felt short because the story open up too many possibilities in the opening that produce a false message to readers that this will be an epic story but fail to close up much of the loose ends before ending the story prematurely , even though the word counts is considerably long … if you feel that there are still stories or scenes that are yet to be concluded , you can always leave a hint for a sequel without completing the whole saga, this will also give yourself a deserved break before continuing with those loose ends :slight_smile:

Doomsday On Demand 2 by @Myst is only 133k on advertisement , but the story really feel long and well written for my opinion… @ThomB 's the Grim and I is advertised with 150k words , i think that is going to be a successful sells based on demo alone :slight_smile:


I’m wondering if part of the push for longer games is that based on previous polls we’ve had, a decent percentage of people are only reading games they buy once or twice. If that’s the case, the entire review could be dependant on perhaps a single play through. So instead of getting 100k words to read (Which is considered decent by novel standards) you may only get 20k which is obviously short and won’t take all that long to read/ seem like poorer value for money.) Historically, very branchy games seem to do poorer than more linear ones, so the playthrough length is important. To get a full novel length game, even fairly linear ones are going to likely be up above the 150k mark, if they branch, probably more like 300k+.

I definitely agree with this. There’s been both novels and games I’ve read where the story pacing seemed fine up until the last chapter where everything seems to rush a bit or it just seems to finish leaving loose ends. The story length would probably seem fine if it had an epilogue another half a chapter to wrap things up (so not much more text,) but it feels short just because of the way it ended. (This goes for long and short works so it’s not entirely dependant on the overall word count.)


Is there any way to explore this by looking at achievements and finding a correlation?


Not sure. I know it’s been brought up a few times on the forum about how many times games were being played on average (which obviously depends on a whole lot of things and the forum population might not represent everyone buying the games) but the consensus seemed to be 1-3 times on average with a fairly decent percentage from memory only playing once to twice unless they really liked the game. Making a game with a shorter playthrough length has been considered a larger no-no than having less replayability (unless it’s taken to extremes) for a while now :slight_smile:


Yeah I get that the amount of words isnt that big a factor compared to how “complete” or full the game feels-- as in if the ending’s actually change with the actions you take, what happen’s to your companions, etc.

My main problem is that I plan for my game to have a lot of combat and rpg elements, as in you can choose companions, fight monsters on your way to beat the boss.

This mean’s, although very, very unlikely, one could possibly read more words than I’ve written (if they want to spend a loooong time grinding wit hour cheats) but on average it’s likely it will take much longer to code (have to code a whole fight subroutine that will increase game play length by a lot, depending on how many random fights they want, but will also take a while to make and a lot of hard coding and wont really increase the word count of the game which people find important here It seems.

This coupled with the fact I don’t have tons of time to work on my game, can’t do like 1000 words of consistently good writing an hour, and don’t expect to make much money (maybe £3 grand at most) means I’m unlikely to continue writing these games as more than a hobby in the future-- especially when word counts of like 300,000 become the expected minimum for a game


I suspect it will be something like The Great Tournament :slight_smile:

The Great Tournament is one of the highly rated HG in playstore , it is advertised as 180k words but that really feel like an Epic journey from start till the end… thus far there aren’t complain that it is short … so i think it will be fine if you can make it around 150k - 200 k words :slight_smile:
More ever , there is always younger/new generation readers emerging … since the price of HG also co-related with the length of words , the lower price for a 150k-200k words HG products may be just adequate to attract these readers to give it a try , and with good story telling your sells may be good :slight_smile:

and the next example may comes as a surprise The Aether: Life as a God is a 60,000 word HG , but its download on Google playstore had reach 100k :-):astonished: for a “short” game… its release was march this year,

Hence , don’t be too troubled by the length of your future game :slight_smile:


Yeah I have Aether and like it a lot-- it plays to its strengths and works well with the stuff it has, but my game is going to be a bit different from other HG, a mix of “The Burden” (the game about the naked character running around with companions) and hero of daria-- there’ll be combat where your companions can help you, and I can make an AI (basically just how the person chooses enemy based upon skill) to calculate who our allies and enemies will attack.

If nothing else, I hope it’s unique-ness ( I always wanted to add group combat into a CoG, and quest’s that have mini side stories that are optional) will help my game stand out a bit since I know I can’t compete with many other games size-wise