Is there another word for 'replayability?' I keep reading that it is not a word; however, the Oxford Dictionaries recognizes it.

Thesaurus.com wasn't very helpful either.

closed as off-topic by Lawrence, Davo, Hellion, NVZ, RaceYouAnytime Sep 20 '17 at 21:51

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  • Is is really different from playability? – Yosef Baskin Jul 21 '17 at 21:42
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    Yes. Playability is the state of being playable. Replayability is the state of being replayable. Something can be playable, but not replayable. Replaybility is usually subjective. – James M Jul 21 '17 at 21:44
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    @YosefBaskin Yes, at least in the context of video games -- "Playability," whether a word or not, refers to the play value of a game: How fun it is, how accessible it is, etc. "Replayability," also whether a word or not, refers to the value withheld on a subsequent play-through. This normally affects games that have some sort of story, i.e. how enjoyable is the game or its story on a second time around – psosuna Jul 21 '17 at 21:46
  • There is a technical term, used in computing, but alas I can't recall it just now. – Hot Licks Jul 21 '17 at 22:41
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    If your audience understands what you mean, I'd use it instead of something they would understand less. Dictionaries can be lagging indicators...and if it the word is already in one that shows that it isn't too far out there. What a strict teacher approves of might be another matter...especially if they are not familiar with the word as used. If you doubt people will understand what you are writing, writing it another way makes sense ... the point is to convey ideas effectively. – Tom22 Jul 22 '17 at 1:01


Replayability is a good word to use. It is recognized by the OED and it is commonly used.
Although it is most commonly used for videogames, it is not exclusively used for that purpose, as the OED's examples show:

‘despite this album's brevity, its well-crafted melodies offer long-term replayability’

Replay value

Replay value is equally valid. As per the OED:

Replay value
mass noun

(especially with reference to a video game) the quality or fact of being suitable for or worth playing more than once.
‘the visuals and sound effects were great but that doesn't make up for the lack of replay value’
‘multiple levels of difficulty make the replay value high and educational value great’
‘the album's replay value is average, at best’

Countering your justification

You linked to a Kotaku article, which links to an essay. I've read through the essay, and I have to say that there are some massive holes in the justification for why replayability is (supposedly) not a word.

To save you the long-winded pedantry that follows:
The essay makes no substantive arguments and oozes with pseudointellectualism. Every argument that the author makes for "replayability" is easily defeated by considering the example of "enjoyment". Just because one person doesn't enjoy something that another person does, does not in any way invalidate the validity of the word "enjoyment".

Well, all games are replay-able by definition as a function of their nature as software (with the exception being that game the name of which I forget but which deletes itself if you lose)

This argument falls apart when you consider that the same word can have different meanings, and that those meanings can sometimes be ambiguous. This ambiguity does not in any way invalidate the word itself!

e.g. a "platinum record" could refer to a record that sold a million copies, or it could refer to a record that is actually made of platinum. This ambiguity does not invalidate either definition of "platinum".

So how about replayability as: “The ability to play the game again, making different, non-trivial choices”. Close, but I’m still not satisfied.
For what defines the line between trivial and non-trivial? Does the presence of 100 templar flags to collect push it over into the “non-trivial”? What if I played this game once when I was twelve but that’s eleven years ago now and I totally don’t remember it? Does that mean the game possess more of the elusive quality we seem to be calling “replayability”?

The correctness of a word has nothing to do with the correctness of attributing the word to something.
"I am old", as a statement, may be correct when made by a senior citizen, and incorrect when made by a five-year-old child. Then again, if this is a five-year-old fly, then the statement is actually correct.

Subjective correctness has nothing to do with grammatical correctness. And for that matter, the author's bad memory (not remembering the game anymore) has nothing to do with grammatical correctness either.

e.g. I may think that Assassin's Creed has low replayability because the characters and maps are not procedurally generated. You may think that it has high replayability because there are many ways to assassinate a character.
Our opinions may differ, but we still agreed on what "replayability" means (even if we disagree about specific instances of replayability).

I agree with the author that replayability is subjective. But that is no basis for claiming that "replayability" is invalid.

Could the answer to that question perhaps be: It depends? Frankly no, I don’t think it could, otherwise the faux-definitive way it gets bandied about (the irony, as it doesn’t even have a definition in a dictionary!) would be exposed as lazy and – dare I say it – completely and utterly devoid of functional meaning?

This is getting egregious.

  • It does have a dictionary definition.
  • It is not devoid of functional meaning, as it refers to a quality. The same applies to words like "difficult", "pretty", "funny" or "fast". None of these can be objectively attributed to anything, as they are tied to a person's opinion and experience. Being subject to subjectivity does not in any way preclude functional meaning.
  • The entire article oozes with pseudo intellectual hollow statements, and this paragraph is a shining example. Does anyone here really know what the author means with "otherwise the faux-definitive way it gets bandied about would be exposed as lazy"? I understand the words, but it does not fit the context of the sentence.
  • In that highlighted text, the author is just saying "People refer to the replayability of something a statement of fact (ie as a definitive statement), which (the author thinks) is a false usage". As you say, it's an incorrect point wrapped up in a load of pretentious guff. – Max Williams Sep 20 '17 at 11:33
  • @MaxWilliams: I agree that that's what he tried to argue, but that meaning is lost by the use of "lazy". "lazy" and "incorrect" have nothing to do with eachother. And then there's the pseudointellectual icing on top of that, making this essay ripe for posting on /r/IAmVerySmart – Flater Sep 20 '17 at 11:37
  • Oh yeah, it's a load of bollocks, to use an earthy colloquialism. – Max Williams Sep 20 '17 at 12:34

English is not so rigid that we cannot create new, legitimate words. Indeed, it happens all the time. Let me point out the word "threepeat," which didn't exist before the late 1980s. It was created in a sports context to describe winning something three times in a row.

Therefore, "replayability" is a perfectly good word (better, frankly, than "threepeat"), and I can see its use in many applications. The ability to "replay" something can apply to games (and not just video games), music, movies, dance moves, TV (I think the news has very low replayability)... almost anything that might be fun to do once but isn't quite as fun the next time around.

That it hasn't been adopted by some dictionary yet simply means you haven't put it to good use yet. ;-)


As per may knowledge can you use "renewability".

  • Welcome to English Language & Usage! Please use proper punctuation, spelling, and capitalization. – NVZ Jul 23 '17 at 8:02
  • Ok i will take care – Vijay Rajput Jul 23 '17 at 9:25
  • How does "renewability" describe the quality of being meaningfully replayable, in the sense that a second playthrough or a game can be more than just a repetition of the first playthrough? – Flater Sep 20 '17 at 10:51

I think this question is based on a misunderstanding. The linked Kotaku article does not say that replayability "is not a word". It says it "might be a bad word". And the essay it links to, although it is titled "“Replayability” Is NOT A Word, So Stop Using It Idiot!", seems to be using a rhetorical device that Geoffrey Pullum has called "linguification". This is where you make some kind of statement about language, but you're really talking about the underlying concepts. E.g. I could say something like "the word 'impossible' is not in my vocabulary" to mean "I have a can-do attitude." Obviously, it doesn't mean that I never say the word "impossible", since the statement contains this word.

Similarly, Ben Abraham's essay is supposedly about the word "replayability", but when you dig into it, it appears that the actual thing that he's complaining about is the (in his view) laziness and dishonesty of people who write about videogames. See this part:

Could this (non) word actually be employed because authors that use it want a lazy and shorthand way to refer to a series of unrelated yet seemingly connected factors that influence whether someone is willing to endure repeat exposure to a game-type experience? Could some of those factors be ones that do not survive their exposure to the harsh light of objective analysis; do those factors not survive as concrete and measurable qualities that exist in the games themselves?

To recognise this fact would be to finally acknowledge that games are not one-hundred-per-cent whole objects of potential scrutiny, existing in and of themselves, floating in space, and uncaring as to their human interacters.

It's a mistake to take this kind of rant literally (and I wouldn't take it seriously on any level, but that's more a matter of opinion). The important part of the title is the emotional "stop using it (idiot)", and the demand to stop using the word is a proxy for a more general demand for a change in attitude; the "“Replayability” Is NOT A Word" part is just an imprecise justification meant to give some kind of credibility to the demand (which I find a bit ironic, since the author's peeve is based on the supposed vagueness of the word's meaning).

Just switching to a synonym wouldn't address Abraham's complaint at all.


Could Reset be this another word ? Or rather the new one resetability ?

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