The £1 = 1 Hour Principle
What’s the price of Entertainment? Kevin’s money saving plan could also save you time and heartache, in his opinion.
How much is the price of entertainment? I’m a 26 year old guy, working in an ok paying job with full time hours. I do alright for myself. Rent’s always on time and the bills are paid, but I’m not exactly Mr.Monopoly. I have a budget for what I can spend on myself each month, not only a monetary budget, but a time one.
I enjoy being entertained, it sounds silly, but really that’s all I really work for. I’m pretty carefree without having any real dependencies, except a pet cat, so I like to enjoy myself. Let’s face it, I’m just 26. What’s the best way you can get the most out of your free time whilst still working to a budget? If you said “Make a rule” then hey! You were right!
This is where the £1 = 1 hour principle. Netflix is £6 per month. At first I asked myself: “Well am I going to get 6 hours of entertainment out of Netflix every month?” Yes, yes I am, and then some! Sky Movies is say approximately £18 a month. Am I going to watch 18 hours worth of movies, whilst working full time? Probably not. Do I go to the gym for 19 hours a month? YEAH! Not really, but that’s not entertainment and it feels more like work anyways! This is where the principle comes in. You don’t want to waste your money on time you’re not going to use. It doesn’t just apply to TV and movies. In fact, that’s usually a small example. I mainly apply this to games.
Let’s take World of Warcraft for example. A game I played for hours and hours and hours over many years. As soon as I realised I wasn’t going to play it for 9 hours a month that subscription got shelved. To be fair though, I got several more hours out of Warcraft than I did on the £1 = 1 hour principle. Sometimes I was playing at least 40 hours a month. Apply that to the rule and its well worth the cash.
It’s why I don’t tend to buy games on release. At the moment, I would love to purchase South Park: The Stick of Truth. It’s as good as £40 on Steam right now. It looks a lot of fun, it’s a turn-based RPG, it’s based on a world I tend to enjoy. However, I don’t think there’s 40 hours of gameplay there. You have to be patient, you have to wait for the sales and the mark-downs. It’s not an exact science, and of course there will be times were excitement will get the best of you. Let’s take Bioshock Infinite, a game that my partner Jenni purchased for me, £40 at retail on release. I got maybe 25 hours tops out of it on two playthroughs. The fact of the matter is this, I love Bioshock. I would have expanded the rule to £5 = 1 hour, I just love it. That’s fine, as long as you let your head rule your mind the majority of the time. Do however be careful of the sale.
Steam sales are the devil. Really. Your poor, poor wallet. The deals are sometimes so good it makes you think, I shouldn’t miss this. I need more games. You might do, there might be that one little gem you’ve been waiting to go on sale. If there is, then go for it. If it’s just “Ack, I might as well” then stop it. You’re probably not going to play it, it’s going to sit there, staring back at you like the remains of a kebab from the night before. A waste of money, not a lot of money, but a waste nonetheless. I have several titles that fall into this category of cold kebab. Keep in mind, these games haven’t been played due to my own tastes; Dead Space, Mirror’s Edge, Risen, Supreme Commander 2 and Warlock: Master of the Arcane. These aren’t the only games, but they are all games I thought I’d reach my hourly quota based on their price and I’m either no way near it, or they’re sitting un-played.
My principle has served me well. It makes me play the games I want to play at the price I want to pay. Granted, it might not be the best way to support AAA developers. Although, when was the last time you looked at a AAA game and thought “That is truly ground-breaking. I will play 60 hours of that title with no doubt”. Unless you are a fan of the games franchise already, it’s doubtful that you’ll find that. I’m not a huge FPS fan, I’m not a big FIFA player, and I’ve never been the type of guy to need the latest gadgets, so for me it might be easier than others.
This brings me to a sticking point. I despise Early Access and Pre-Orders. My opinion – please note the use of the word opinion – is that you are paying full price for a game that is not finished. How do you know that you’re going to enjoy it? It’s not done. Unless you’re a huge fan of the franchise, developer or if it’s a remake of a previously released game, you’re jumping in blind. There’s hardly ever any critique or information available. You are paying to be a beta tester. If we stop this practice and become less accepting of games with horrendous bugs on release then this might push developers to be as stringent as they were in the ‘Good ol’ days’. Where the majority of games were near perfectly optimised, bug free and localised well (with a few exceptions – naturally).
Pre-Orders are the exact same, you’re paying ahead of a release for a game that’s likely to be available wherever you shop. Especially if it’s purchased digitally. Why would you pre-order a game on digital distribution unless it was at a discounted rate and you know you’d enjoy it. This being based on (again) that you’re a huge fan of the franchise, developer or that it’s a remake of a previously released game. Boxed collector’s editions aside, my opinion is to wait for the critique then apply the £1 = 1 Hour principle. Don’t just think, yeah. £40 for the game and a free exclusive weapon hits the mark. Do the same with DLC, it’s a different discussion for another time entirely, but wait for it to be reviewed. I’ve heard the new ‘Last of Us’ DLC is 2 hours of gameplay. 2 hours. For £12. That’s what. £6 an hour. That’s a footlong subway on top of what you should be paying for entertainment!