William Usher wrote on Nov 21, 2017, 18:06:
jdreyer wrote on Nov 21, 2017, 15:38:
Games are also orders of magnitude more expensive to make. In 1995 the gaming press was astounded by the cost of making Wing Commander IV: $10M. Today, AAA games are much more expensive: a Call of Duty costs around $100-150M to make, Knights of the Old Republic cost $200M, Battlefield 4 cost $100M, etc. And none of those numbers includes marketing, which typically double the cost.
Not necessarily true. Some games are more expensive to make now than before. Other games are far cheaper. Shiness was made for under $200,000 while Final Fantasy VII was made for $45 million and both of them are large-scale RPGs. Shiness had a tiny team and managed to make a fairly impressive looking game.
Tech has gotten way cheaper, licensing has gotten cheaper, distribution has gotten cheaper. Thanks to advancements like photogrammetry and 3D scanning you can create photorealistic graphics with a few tools and a small team, as evident with games like Obduction and Hellblade (the latter of which only had to sell around 50,000 to break even).
Also, Call of Duty's $100 million budget isn't all in the game production. Activision spends between $50 and $100 million to market the game. Same thing with EA and Battlefield. Back in 2011 both companies spent upwards of $100 million to market Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3. There's a Forbes article that breaks down the financials.
Most mid-budget games that are still magnitudes bigger and better looking than games made back in the 1990s can be made for anywhere between $1 million and $10 million. A lot of games reaching up into the $50 million+ territory are oftentimes leveraged by Hollywood talent, expansive marketing budgets or pure mismanagement like in the case of Mass Effect: Andromeda.
My original comment specified AAA games. Sure, mid tier and lower tier games are going to cost less. Shiness is a solid midtier game, and definitely not in the same class as a modern FF. Also, don't be fooled by a $200K kickstarter. Game companies often use KS as a marketing tool, and to garner a bit of extra cash to pay debt and facilitate polish during beta. I'm sure Shiness cost much more than $200k TO MAKE.
Also, I specifically said "cost of making" to delta the development costs from the marketing costs. Here's a nifty wikipedia page that lays out the development costs and marketing costs for a bunch of fairly recent games
. Some examples of development only (sans marketing):
Red Dead Redemption: $100M
Too Human: $100M
There are some noticeable recent games missing from this list: FF 15, CoD: Infinite Warfare, any Battlefield or Battlefront game, Destiny 2, any Dragon Age game, The Division, Overwatch, any Assassin's Creed game, etc. Battlefield 4 cost $100M to make
, and it's pretty safe to assume that any one of those missing games cost $80M - $150M to make given their scope, fidelity, and massive team size in the 100s of developers.
Bottom line: when you're making a modern AAA game, it takes hundreds of people years to build. That can run to $100M easily.
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