Is Stardew Valley Worth the Money?

Stardew Valley is one of the most popular indie games ever made, and has sold over 20 million copies across all platforms. That’s an incredible number and one that seems to only continue to grow as the game was only available on Steam/PC for a long time, and it has a certain timelessness that continues to attract new gamers of all ages.

Any player who enjoys farm-sim games, life-sim games, or even development games will almost certainly love Stardew Valley and find their money paid back many times over compared to the hours of entertainment received. Very few games provide the hours of entertainment for the same low cost as Stardew Valley.

Every Stardew Valley fan will tell you that Stardew Valley is worth the money, and for many of us it’s one of the best video game buys ever. But do the cheers of fans hold up to the math? Let’s have a look!

I have a fairly strong opinion on this question, as the well over a thousand hours played on my Steam account show…

What Does Stardew Valley Cost?

Stardew Valley was an independently developed game which means it doesn’t come with the high price tag gamers have come to expect from a game released by a big studio. That alone can make it appealing off the bat, and if you are a fan of the old Harvest Moon or Story of Seasons games (whose remakes still tend to go for $25-35 on Steam) then SV seems like a steal by comparison.

These prices are subject to change, but generally over time these are the average prices for Stardew Valley on each system at least as of this publication:

  • $14.99 on Steam (PC, Mac, & Linux)
  • $14.99 on Xbox
  • $14.99 on PS4
  • $14.99 on Playstation VITA
  • $35 (app.) hard copy or $14.99 digital for Nintendo Switch
  • $4.99-$7.99 iOS & Android

So overall, pretty consistent, especially if you’re looking at a digital copy. It is worth noting that while the iOS & Android versions are the same game, they tend to be the last ones that get upgraded so they will be a bit behind (as of this writing they don’t have the huge 1.5 update).

This is also a completely reasonable price point and even a touch on the low side as $19.99 and $24.99 are still the most common price points for non-big studio releases.

$14.99 is an extremely reasonable price for your average game, and the hours of gameplay in Stardew Valley make this price an extremely good deal.

And how many hours have I played of this game?

Stardew Valley Steam Hours Played
An the hours played displayed there was at least 100 hours ago as of publication…

Yeah, so in my case even without getting the game when it was on sale, it’s cost me about a single penny per hour of entertainment. Light players will probably still put in 200 or so hours, creating a price of seven cents per hour. Heavy duty players will put in many, many more hours.

This isn’t one run-through, at least not for me. It’s many different files over multiple games in the year, but that does speak to the pure staying power of the game and how enjoyable it is to come back and fire up a new file while starting a new farm.

How Many Hours of Gameplay Are in Stardew Valley?

One of the best ways to figure out whether Stardew Valley is worth the money or not is comparing the price to the hours of gameplay. So how many hours of gameplay are in Stardew Valley?

The main focus here is going to be on single player games since the extremely fun multiplayer game version not only leads to potentially dozens if not hundreds of more hours of gameplay, but if the goal is to pal around and have fun versus running through all the missions in the game, then that definitely throws off the average hours played.

Hours in Single Player Stardew Valley

How Long to Beat did a great poll on how many hours many players of Stardew played. These were across multiple platforms and even looked at things like whether the player was average, loved to rush things, or described themselves as a leisurely player.

According to their numbers:

  • The average hours played even if ONLY focusing on main game points is 52 hours
  • The average hours played for that completionist badge is 153 hours
  • With all play styles averaged the time played came out to 93 hours and 24 minutes for a playthrough

It’s important to note these were all focused on a single run (and very few players only play this game once), and once everything is done. There are players who do everything and just enjoy firing the game up once a day to keep on farming and just enjoy a relaxing half hour before coming back to the real world.

The average leisurely playthrough was over 73 hours for just main story players and up to 364 hours for getting every achievement for completion (i.e. did everything).

There are also players who throw off the curve (not in this study) who have done tens of thousands of hours over the year which is remarkable.

That’s a LOT of hours of entertainment for $14.99 and again, that is without playing with friends and family through multiplayer or ever playing a second file. Different farm types can introduce a new flavor or challenge to the game, as well.

Many of these were also BEFORE the 1.5 update which added an entirely new island, new characters, new story, etc.

Definitely comes down on the side of Stardew Valley being worth the cost. Even at full price, which is well below your average studio release that may or may not be worth the much larger payment.

Ratings: Who Will Like the Game Stardew Valley?

Stardew Valley is unusual (in a really good way) in that it will bring in legions of fans who might not be your expected demographic or average gamer. You may think most sim games are stupid, but then absolutely love this game. You might be a hardcore RPGer but then absolutely love the calm aspects of Stardew, and those RPG threads in a farm-sim package.

So even though there are conventional groups of gamers who will definitely enjoy Stardew Valley and how often do you see a game on Steam that:

  1. Is rated as Overwhelmingly Positive?
  2. Has over 392,000 ratings and is STILL rated as Overwhelmingly Positive?

According to Steam250, Stardew is the 3rd highest rated game on Steam ever…and I can’t help but to notice it is also much higher on the most played ever list than the two games currently ranked ahead of it in what is (honestly) a 5-8 game tie at the top.

One thing that has been truly impressive is the sheer number of types of players who come in and love this game. Retirees who generally don’t game, middle-aged gamers whose college years are two decades behind them, young gamers looking for a relaxing game – the sheer number of different groups of people who love Stardew Valley show that ConcernedApe made something truly special with this one.

One example from one of our awesome Patrons, cynnith:

My mom wanted a blue ray player for Christmas a fewyears ago. Instead I bought her a PS4 because it was the same price, plays blue ray and can do Netflix etc.

I also bought her Stardew thinking she would put in twenty minutes and be done with it.

She called me a couple weeks later telling me she only needed one more trophy before she got all of them. My mother who has never played video games before platinumed Stardew.

It also gave her the courage to try other games. She loves farming games now like Stardew and Harvest Moon etc. She has also played through the Witcher etc which she would not have tried without having been introduced to Stardew first. 🙂

Cynnith talking about her awesome mom’s experience with Stardew

Stardew Valley: Insane Value for the Money

While there might be some gamers who don’t like Stardew Valley, the majority of players adore this game and it is one of the very few games in my library with over 1,000 hours of playing time. This often comes in spurts over the years as I’ll work on a new farm, have it create its new interesting look, or try a new first year challenge, and then move on.

And I still occasionally start up a new file, or visit an old one once again. Sometimes you just need to get away for a while, and few games do that as well as Stardew Valley.

Firing up this game is like visiting a bunch of old friends once again, a little mental escape from a crushing world (a theme the game explores very well), and the perfect combination of relaxing work-farm-life sim that didn’t just pay homage to the Harvest Moon games it was originally based on, but took the genre of game to an entirely new level that has spawned dozens of imitators and creative branch-offs ever since.

Is Stardew Valley worth the money? Without question, if you like anything about life sims, farm sims, development games, work games, or even unconventional RPGs, then yes, you will almost certainly love this game and find that Stardew Valley is worth every penny.

A town full of new (or old) friends will be waiting for you whether you fire it up for the first time, or come back after months (or years away).

Other Stardew Valley Articles You May Enjoy: