The lights are on
Over the past few years, we've seen an unprecedented number of studio closures and industry layoffs. According to a report by Screen Digest in 2005, development budgets ranged from $3 million to $6 million. Study author Marc de Gentile-Williams predicted that in extreme cases, budgets on the Wii, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 would pass $20 million. He was a little low.
In 2010, M2 Research stated that average costs ranged between $18 million and $28 million, with major titles like God of War III, the Call of Duty franchise, and Grand Theft Auto titles busting through the high end of that range. As we saw with Square Enix's recent titles, even sales exceeding previous franchise entries weren't enough to keep Tomb Raider from being deemed underperforming.
The focus is turning away from increasing sales and toward reining in excessive budgets. One way developers and publishers can do this while managing staffing needs is to engage outside organizations. This is the focus of the External Development Summit 2013 (XDS) to be held in Vancouver from September 3 - 5, 2013.
Speakers from Electronic Arts, GREE, Blizzard, BioWare, and more will complement networking opportunities. While the focus isn't the end consumer, the topics discussed have an impact on how games are made. If you are a developer and interested in attending, or simply want to find out more, visit the XDS website.
Our TakeOverblown budgets continue to plague development, and economical use of existing assets is crucial to ensuring that sales can recover costs. We've seen a number of good-but-not-great titles considered to be underperforming with dire impact. Layoffs and studio closures are all too common. If there's any way to return to a time when there was a place for "good" games (as opposed to the "hits" and "bombs" that define the industry now), it should be explored.
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Game developers need to realize that bigger doesn't always mean better. Making big flashy games with a gigantic budget just leaves us with an over-saturation of triple A games and a hankering for a time when games were made with smaller budgets and expectations (like were doing now.)
So we're reverting back to early 360/late PS2 era development strategies. Fine with me, as that's where a ton of my favorite games came from.
there is a big problem in the industry in that a lot of the AAA titles in development are depending on their own sales to keep the company afloat.
For example AC Black Flag, looks great in the trailer. They have obviously spent countless millions on game development to make it such a great game, possibly much more money than is necessary. Reason : AC is a huge franchise and they know that chances are they will be able to rake the money back.
The problem comes in that there are raised expectations by the public on every game, so studios are beginning to overreach themselves to do the same thing on smaller games and it hurting them.
"The focus is turning away from increasing sales and toward reining in excessive budgets." -- we should've been having this discussion YEARS ago.
It constantly amazes me whenever I read about how much it cost to make a certain game. Let's be honest though the high price of games is not helping sales in the slightest. We have to be realistic and see that most people don't have the money to buy more than two games a month maximum.
This is why many perfectly good games sell really poorly because people have to be extremely discriminatory when it comes to selecting games.
External development... as in outsourcing? Wouldn't this be beneficial to the job market in the long run? creating smaller companies that do bigger dev companies job for them? like a small company of animators that someone like Squaresoft would hire?
Sales are down because of the standard pricing methods and are not likely to change soon even with digital. There is also the over saturation of AAA titles and once a year releases. I don't like that the game industry is becoming so large production focused. I can wait 3 years for a great game but i won't buy a yearly released title with stagnating quality. Outsourcing is a good method but so is developing smaller title simultaneously and take a break between AAA titles. If your releasing AAA's every year the game quality is likely to fall.
Why does it cost so much money. I have played some low budget games that are awesome, I just dont get it.