Game Development Costs Causing Developers To Panic
The current state of affairs in the gaming industry is pretty darn rosy right about now, as most analysts will tell you. It remains one of the fastest growing entertainment venues on earth, and the once "recluse-only" hobby has become just as mainstream as movies, music, books, etc. However, with increased technology and popularity comes added cost of production, which has skyrocketed since the early days of gaming.
According to a recent report by BBC News, pricey development requirements for next-gen titles are causing some studios to panic. They used the example of Namco's 1982 title Pac-Man, which cost about $100,000 to develop and publish. These days, even including inflation, that would come to about $200,000. But the average PS3 game costs nearly $15 million to make, and that's before we even talk about advertising and marketing (which is kinda necessary for high-profile titles). This makes things especially tough for smaller development studios, because one failed game could mean curtains. Furthermore, it means a lot of creators might opt for the easy buck by producing another sequel or easily recognizable title, which could point towards eventual stagnation.
Of course, with added cost comes more profit due to greatly enhanced popularity, so we're not all that concerned. We're relatively certain the industry will continue to grow and flourish in the future, but there is the possibility we'll see games of lesser quality just because the "casual gamer" will buy a name they recognize. Fortunately, this industry is unique in one aspect: the popular games tend to also be the best of the bunch. Have you noticed? It's a feather in our cap, I say.
12/30/2007 Ben Dutka