If You Think About It This Way, Call Of Duty Is Quite A Bargain

If You Think About It This Way, Call of Duty Is Quite a Bargain

Call of Duty, like so many other games, is a better value over time. The more you play it, the less expensive its $US60 price tag seems to have been. How cheap? Well, even if you buy all the map packs and play just two hours a week, the cost goes down to a dollar an hour. That's better than the movies. Here's the maths, presented in part of a longer open letter from gaming business analyst P.J. McNealy to Activision boss Bobby Kotick:

If You Think About It This Way, Call of Duty Is Quite a Bargain

Gamer A's five days' worth of playing = 120 hours spread across a year. That's about two hours a week. Play twice that much per week and the game costs just two quarters per hour — not counting the console it's on, Xbox Live Gold if you're on a 360, and some other factors, of course!

You could apply this to any game, of course. And if you don't buy DLC and only pay $US60 for a game, you can cut all these per-hour costs in half.

Why Bobby Kotick has been correct on Call of Duty and the video game industry [Digital World Research]


    No. Not at all. Not for the campaigns that are roughly 4 - 5 hours long. Sorry, not at all. What are you, on Bobby Koticks personal payroll??? Also, if you're gonna publish that on Australian Kotaku, adjust that shit for our monetary values, otherwise it's just plain insulting.

    Last edited 05/11/13 3:05 pm

      It specifically mentions online play not single player.

        I know, but when you're talking value for money, take every angle into account.

          So by that logic wouldn't that be adding even more value however slight?

            In theory yes. In practice its still not worth it at all.

              The "in practice" counterargument angle only reallys works if you're not the kind of person who will play hundreds of hours of CoD, in which it's a poor value decision for you, and maybe you are best off not buying it. It turns out that is an option too, but I can see how the internet/hype/Bobby Kotick might have led you to believe otherwise.

              I made that decision following MW3 and subsequently have not bought BlOps 2 or Ghosts.

              But I played a TON of MW2. Including DLC and the cost of maintaning an Xbox Live subscription, the value for money ratio was excellent, especially since my wife played it as well. The value basically doubles when you've got two people on the console.

              How you feel about the game is kind of irrelevant. Millions of people enjoy playing it, and typically they do so for a long, long time. You can say they're objectively wrong for enjoying a flawed or poor quality product, but... that's not what enjoyment is. Enjoyment is a subjective experience.

              Last edited 08/11/13 1:44 pm

      Who the hell buys COD for the campaign?!

        Those who don't buy it for multiplayer?

          Oh right, the people who fall out of the target audience yet still happen to think the game is made for them. The multiplayer DLC's are true testament to that.

            Do you have any idea how douchey you sound?

              But still, he's right though.

              $90 just to play a 5-6 hour campaign doesn't sound like good value to me.

                Agreed. Which is why his making a mistake buying a multiplayer game for a single player campaign.

                But say that same 5-6 hour game was hired from a video store, that equates to the same length as 2-3 movies. All of a sudden it's money well spent.

              I would assume that anyone who has the nerve to tell a writer how to do their job on a gaming news website would at least have the basic understanding and gaming knowledge that COD's last 5 years or so of success have been thanks to its multiplayer mode, which also happens to have become the prime focus on development in the last few iterations of COD titles. Fact is fact - COD has evolved into a MULTIPLAYER game which happens to feature a single player component.

              Yes.. some people will go out and buy it for it's campaign. Those people also fall into an estimated minority of 0.00001% of people who buy the game during its lifespan. Why would so many people go to the midnight launch just to get the latest rehash of the same old linear campaign? Oh wait.. I shouldn't have asked another rhetorical question.. you might actually answer it.. ignore that last question!

                Again, acting like a douche. Btw, if you're going to quote statistics, I'd like a source.

                Last edited 05/11/13 5:24 pm

                I find your quoted statistics to be highly dubious sir. While I agree that yes, a large proportion of players that pick up Call of Duty do so with multiplayer in mind, I would argue that an equally significant proportion do not.

                I originally got into Modern Warfare for the single player campaign, and dabbled in the various iterations of multiplayer until around the time Black Ops dropped, at which point I was simply no longer interested. I would however still happily play through the single player modes of each new CoD game if I thought the price point was appropriate.

                But hey, that's just me right? Right?

                “As popular as [Call of Duty] is, there are a lot of people who don’t play [multiplayer], and quite frankly, this bugs the sh** out of us. They should all play multiplayer." That was quoted from Treyarch design director David Vonderhaar, in September last year, before Black Ops 2 was released.

                While I'm not privy to Activision's statistical data, I'm guessing there's a fair few people that still only grab the latest CoD every year for some single player shooty action.

                  I've also bought a number of the CoD games for the campaigns (I don't play multiplayer FPS, because (a) I suck and (b) I have no interest in spending my hours getting abused). I do normally wait until substantial discounts are available (which generally takes quite a while for CoD, but I'm in no hurry).

                  0.00001% is one in ten million. In a random sample of a few hundred people reading Kotaku, we've found at least two who buy the games for single player.

                  If I've told you once, I've told you a hundred billion times, don't exaggerate!

                  That said, I don't expect an extended campaign from a CoD game. Spectacular set-pieces, yes, but the multiplayer is where the game keeps its emphasis.

                  OTOH the $/hour comparison is rather silly when you compare it to something like Civ V, or even Angry Birds or Tetris. Yes, games are good value for money on a per-hour basis, and CoD's multiplayer stretches that out a bit. However, it's not all that exceptional in that regard.

                I'm going to put my hand up here as someone who pretty much didn't get a royal toss about CoD's multiplayer. I played MW1 ONLY SP. NO MP. None. Not even a single game. MW2, same deal. MW3 I played through some of the spec ops with a friend for a few hours, and maybe one or two hours tops of MP. MW1's single player was great. It just went to the toilet after it jumped the shark by having Russia fly all the way around the world to attack suburbia.

                I can also tell you that I know of 13 people off the top of my head that also played pretty much zero multiplayer. The take home point here is that saying "Everyone who buys CoD does so for MP"... well, that is complete and utter crap.

                  I wasn't aware so many people bought COD games for just the campaign. With such short, linear and repetitive campaigns which rather than getting you to explore and work things out on your own tell you exactly where to go and what to do, holding your hand along the entire ride, I never thought anyone would waste their money on it, but I've been clearly proven wrong by this board.

          You should get Arma 3 mate, gameplay wise it shits from a great height over that COD bollocks and the first chapter in the A3 campaign lasts longer than the entire campaign in MW2 did

            I have 2, it's spectacular in its own right. Im saving to buy 3 right now, it looks absolutely stunning. Can't wait to play it :D

              Oh its way better than 2. Arma 1 & 2 felt like major upgrades to Operation Flashpoint but Arma 3 finally feels like an actual sequel.

              This may seem a bit like I'm shamelessly pimping my latest youtube video (mostly because I'm shamelessly pimping my latest youtube video) but I've done a runthrough of the first mission of the campaign:


                Damn, that looks absolutely amazing. Ta for the vid :D

                ARMA III looks Insane! I watched that ballistics vid they posted on here a week or so ago, so incredible the amount of detail they have put into the game.

          Newsflash it's CoD we're all dickheads. The throbbing member on my forehead is testament to that. It's a multiplayer focused game and has been since CoD2. If you wan't a single player game go buy Killzone or something.

          Last edited 05/11/13 5:01 pm

          I bought a new car that has a great stereo, but I don't like to drive!

          I'm outraged that this car isn't good value, as I paid $30,000 and I choose to use it only to sit in my driveway listening to music!

          Impotent rant ensues!

        Black Ops 1 had one of the best FPS campaigns and I didn't see that twist coming.

        Yeah my brother plays cod for campaign but he is a peanut so it doesn't count haha

        I bought MW3 for the campaign.
        I've got 0 seconds logged on competitive Multiplayer.

        I only bought it to see how the story ended. It wasn't the best spent money, but I've done worse.

        Last edited 05/11/13 7:17 pm

      Man, you are going to be pissed when/ if you buy Titanfall then :p

        Thats entirely different :P

          Indeed :D Things were starting to get a bit too tense further down, thought I'd try to lighten the mood a bit hahahaha

            lmao actually Titanfall looks epic :D

              It really Does :D keen to give it a bash when it's released, although on the 360 for now.

    By the same logic, free to play games are amazing value.

    I don't judge a game by how much I paid per hour to enjoy it. Hell, I don't factor the cost into things at all. I simply care about how much I enjoyed it and if I was satisfied when I was done.

      Exactly, hence why I feel Saints Row 3 was great value for money but I just simply think 4 was a bit of a waste of money. Both are good games but 3 is immensely replayable while 4? Not so much.

        I paid more for Saints Row 4 than I did for SR3 and played SR3 for longer. In terms of value for money, I feel like I got plenty from both.

        Sure, I would say that SR3 was the better game but it wasn't dollar or hours that determined that.

        Technically saints row 3 was one of the best value for money purchases I've ever made, I got it when someone at valve stuffed up a decimal point and got the game and all the DLC for a dollar. $1 for 26 hours of play was pretty good value really

    adjusted for Australian prices:
    A $1.20 /hr
    B $0.63 /hr
    C $0.13 /hr

    Edit: random application to my most played game
    Torchlight 2
    199 hours played, at $20 = $0.10 /hr

    Last edited 05/11/13 3:08 pm

      Actually, given the standard price is 99 rrp (And COULD actually be 109? Correct me if Im wrong? 79 from JB etc doesnt count as its a personally priced discount), you'd be multiplying by 1.675.

      A. $1.64
      B. $0.82
      C. $0.17


      Doesn't sound so greatly priced now...

      Last edited 05/11/13 3:12 pm

        i'm just going off the steam price. $89.99 + $59.99 = $150.

        Edit: consoles will be higher, of course. especially on 360 with the gold sub on top of that.

        Last edited 05/11/13 3:13 pm

        As opposed to say, The Last of Us which also had an RRP of $109.95, but was only 15 hours long. That's more than $7 an hour! What a ripoff!

          Dunno, rented LOU, 6 bucks for 3 days. Worked out pretty well lol.

      Might do the same. Counter Strike: Source 4500 hours played and purchased for $15 so that's a 1/3 of cent for every hour XD

        holy shit.
        that is impressive.
        & a pretty excellent time to cost ratio :p

        Horrible deal there, should demand your money back!

        My most cost efficient game is Terraria which I have 320hrs played (so far) bought for $10 = 3c/hr.
        I should add that I've had 320 FUN hours, not forcing myself to get my 'monies worth'.

          I can't imagine how many hours I've spent on Minecraft but I'd say it would be much more than your Terraria hours.

    So basically for anyone like me, it's not worth it. because I'll play single player once. replay the good missions once. And TRY to enjoy multiplayer for a week or 2.

    And then I'll never play it again.

    Good advertising right there!

      Yep. Hence why people like me rent COD from a video store, play through the campaign, return it and never buy it. There just no long term value there.

        I didn't know they even still had video stores.

          Yep there's a blockbusters across from me (ok dvd whatever lol) and one down near Marsden in Brisbane, (Im sure there's many more). Wierdly, they're selling groceries in the one at Marsden?

          Last edited 05/11/13 5:24 pm

            There is still at least 3 Blockbusters on the Gold Coast (Robina, Mudgeeraba, and Mermaid) and a few up Logan way too....probably a few more on the coast, I just visit those 3 though haha

        What are you not following about it primarily being an online game?
        And you rent it anyway, so the limited campaign is worth the nominal fee. Either write a letter to COD/ Santa, or go buy Arma/Killzone/Crysis/Last of us/Bioshock/Gran Turismo/Zippy and Skateboard Adventures/ Tomb Raider...

      The maths shift a little for your use as you'd wouldn't buy the DLC which is primarily online content.

      Ghosts $79.00/12 hours = $6.58/hr*
      THOR2 $14.60/2 hours = $7.30/hr

      *12 Hours based on: 6 for the campaign, 2 for favourite missions, and 4 hours of online. I've assumed the use of a PS3 with no online charges.

      It's still cheaper than a movie, but moreso when you can sell the game on ebay 2 weeks later for $50, reducing your initial outlay and your $/hr to $2.42.

      There's good odds hiring the game may prove cheaper for you, but I'd need to hire the game several times to finish the single player campaign. BTW how much does it cost to hire a game these days?

    When doing the conversion, remember basic fractions. In that case, it would be 89/59= 1.5

    So just multiply them by that and there's your ripoff point! lol

    *whoops* That was a reply to @35

    Last edited 05/11/13 3:16 pm

      maths was never my strong point :p


        And Im going to be a maths teacher! EEP!

          you'll still be better than some of the maths teachers I've worked with...

          This does not surprise me at all.

    Football Manager and Total War games have been the most bargain-tastic games for me so far as time put into them. On Medieval 2 and last year's FM I'm pushing 1000 hours on both. Time to see if the same will happen with Rome 2 and this year's FM.

    Regarding an FPS, the most amount of time I've sunk into one game is TF2. A free game. Granted I've paid for a few keys or Mann-Up tickets, but still $20 or so (I don't spend much on it) on a game that I've played, and still play fairly regularly 7 years after its release, way better value than I could ever hope from a COD game if I were to buy one

    OMG, so if I buy a movie for like $10 and watch it 500 times, it works out like 1 cent and hour, bargain!

    So selling timeshare condos didn't work for this guy so he’s moved onto games now?

    This doesn't take into account the hidden cost of having to put up with douchebags while playing online :P

    What, don't count the cost of Xbox LIVE? Leave out the money for the gas needed to drive to pick it up? Leave out the costs for the console and accessories?

    and that's only if I like the game enough to play for 120 days. MW3 total multiplayer time for me was 3 hours.

    As a kid I liked playing games, but we didn't have a lot of money. As a result, I bought games that I thought would give me a about an hours entertainment for $1. Key word: entertainment.

    I think that one of the things people tend to forget about the time vs price argument, is that often both titles are both fun for as long as you play them. Consequently, because Skyrim cost me $60 and provided me with about 120hrs of awesome, I think that's a better deal than Uncharted 2, which was $60 bucks for about 12 hours of awesome.

      Would how much entertainment you got out of each hour make a difference?

      Let's say with Skyrim you got five amazing hours, 20 decent to great hours and the remaining 95 were mediocre (grinding, travelling, idling and whatnot) whereas with Uncharted 2 all twelve hours were amazing. Would that impact how good a deal a game was?

      Nothing maintains a solid level of spectacularness over the entire ride. Maybe some TV shows do it but even the best movies have peaks and troughs. When it comes to games, surely how much of it comes close to the peaks and how much of it comes close to the troughs has to be a factor.

      This is what I don't like about the whole twenty hour game experience. A game like Call of Duty has a five hour campaign. In the case of Modern Warfare, that was actually a very enjoyable campaign. If you stretch out those five hours into a twenty hour campaign, suddenly the average level of content becomes much lower because they have to have filler.

      I'm rambling but the point is that I think people can be very forgiving of those particularly long titles when they end up spending hours upon hours doing things that they don't enjoy in order to get to the points that they do. If people took those periods into consideration, I don't know if "120hrs of awesome" seems accurate.

        I agree that there are scales of enjoyment, and that should be factored in. However, I enjoyed first 40hrs of Skyrim at maximum enjoyment. That makes it better values than Uncharted 2 which provided twelve hours of unbridled enjoyment. I also think Uncharted 2 was better value than Far Cry 3, which I played for about 35 hours. Far Cry 3 was a lot of fun, but sometimes I felt like I was just checking stuff off a list.

    Using this logic, all of our "big investment" items like houses and cars are things we shouldn't complain about paying so much for either. Given how much time we spend in them, the cost isn't that high at all. With a quick bit of math, I'm only paying a few dollars an hour to rent my apartment. That's less than the price of a cup of coffee! Which is my other pet marketing peeve. I can either buy a coffee, or your product. If I buy your product and a coffee, I am buying two coffees which is silly. Unless I really need caffeine. /rant

    Is this a joke? Because it's hilarious.

    hilarious, this is how I used to justify the cost of a wow subscription to myself....

    Last edited 06/11/13 8:46 am

    I think this is a fair comparison. I went to a 3D movie the other night, it was $23 a ticket. (PC) gaming seems to be much better value to me, even when I include hardware costs..

    According to this scale, Dark Souls has been the best investment I've made in my life.

      I don't think there are many Dark Souls fans who'd disagree with you.

    No this is definitely stupid.
    You could apply this graph to any Multi-player game. The more hours you play, the more you get out of your money!
    NO. FUCKING. SHIT. You can Swap COD in there for BF4, Uncharted 3 multiplayer, Crysis 2 multiplayer, and either way, if you're dividing a number by how many hours you play, yeah, the more hours you play, the smaller the "cost per hour" is.z

    Read back through the article, and clicked the link, feel a little silly, but still, point stands anyone who says Video games are cheaper per hour of using the content, It's kinda like well nuh duh. But The Lord Of the Rings Trilogy Still can give you so much, not even all in one sitting necessarily. You can miss stuff and find deeper meanings after the 3rd or 5th viewing. Which is fair to compare since gameplay technically is the same in different levels for most games.

    Last edited 08/11/13 1:32 am

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