Tuesday, March 6, 2012

MW3 and Elite Premium - Is It Worth It?

I'm going to create a fictional person who bought MW3 for $60 and Elite Premium for $50, assign hours played to certain portions of the game which I think are conservative averages, and compare the time played to other forms of consumption.

John Doe pays $110 for MW3, and Elite Premium for 1 year.  Here are the elements that he gets from this:

(edit: updated with actual DLC August 10)
1 - Campaign
24 - Spec Ops missions
28 - Survival maps
28 - Multiplayer maps
5 - Face Off maps
1 - Game mode (Chaos)
2 - Presitge tokens (so far)
Multiplayer clans, clan operations/challenges

Plus free additions:
1 - Multiplayer map
2 - Face Off maps
4 - Game modes (Infected, Drop Zone, FFA Gunplay, Face Off)

Some people play only multiplayer, some play almost no multiplayer, but here are some numbers for our man John that I think are more than conservative enough to make up for all the variance in play-times across the board:

10 hours - Campaign - 1 complete playthrough on veteren, or 2 times on a lower difficulty (or some mix).
6 hours - Spec Ops missions - 15 min in each mission, about 2 playthroughs per mission
1 hour - Chaos Mode - 15 min on each map
14 hours - Survival mode - 30 minutes on each map
24 hours - Multiplayer - about 1500 kills if someone gets an average of 8 kills per game for 250 games of 7.5 min each (John isn't very good, which is the case for most people)

So all together John gets about 55 hours of playtime for $110.  That works out to $2.00 per hour played. And that doesn't take into account the prestige tokens and the clan stuff.

(So far I've put over 150 hours into the game and bought the hardened edition, making my personal dollar per hour figure less than 0.66)

What is an hour of leisure time worth to most people?  Economists often assign the person's wage rate to their leisure time which is a decent measure (minimum wage is $7.25 per hour), but I'm going to go further.

Most people are willing to go see movies in the theater, and a longer than average movie in a cheaper than average theater will be about $6 for 2 hours worth of matinee entertainment.  That works out to $3 per hour which is more than Joe paid for his MW3 Elite Premium entertainment.

What if you buy a movie on DVD?
A 2 hour movie that you watch a total of 3 times, that costs about $15 for a new release DVD renders a per hour cost of $2.50, which is lower than the theater, but still higher than the game.

Another comparison is reading.
Most people seem to read a Harry Potter book in about a day, and I'll guess that equates to 12-14 hours of reading.  All 7 hardcover (initial release books are almost always hardcover) HP books go for about $100, which gives $0.80-$1.00 per hour. That's a much more difficult comparison, especially if you read the books more than once (which I certainly do for books I really enjoy).

All that being said, a big question is whether Elite Premium is worth the extra $50.  To answer that we'd have to find out how many fewer hours John would have played had he forgone Elite Premium and the DLC.  Also, how much less would John enjoy each hour played without Elite Premium and the DLC?  These are open to discussion, and I don't think anyone can give a definitive answer because it goes into 2 separate universes where each person does and doesn't pay for Elite Premium.

Anyway, I believe that the total cost for MW3 and Elite Premium is more than worth it for most people who play CoD, despite all the complaining that goes on, and that's why it sells a lot.

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