Video games these days are not cheap. With current-gen console games generally priced around $59.99, and the price of handheld games steadily closing the gap, purchasing a new video game comes with a bit of an investment, an investment that too often goes unreturned. Enter Howlongtobeat.com. The premise of the site is simple, users submit their completion times based on their play style, from casual to completionist. The scores are then averaged and the results are made public for each game. Though an account is required for submissions, all content is free. The site itself boasts being powered 100% through wind energy.
Though the premise is simple, the implications are huge, and in many ways reflect the tensions between video game companies and their audience, especially in the used game market. Where once gamers had to search forums, read reviews, and more often than not take a leap of faith in assessing if a game was worth purchasing, now the answer of how long a game is, as portrayed by user experience not big company propaganda, is right at their fingertips. This could very easily sway purchasers from buying, to renting or buying used, or to simply passing on the game entirely. When coupled with a reviewing system that compares, among other things, the game's overall experience and its retired rating, or how many people put it down, the site becomes an invaluable asset to the gaming community.
The site is still growing, and regularly updates its extensive list of features, as well as it's growing list of titles, giving the largely user-content driven site a more down to earth feel. Howlongtobeat.com is more than simply a site for seeing how long a game will last, it is the internet's answer to asking a friend about a game, and with a market saturated with tech specs this is much appreciated and sorely needed.