The Cost Of Producing A Video Game

2

Comments

  • WizardryWizardry Ontario, CanadaMember EpicPosts: 12,990
    New technology is not all time saving it is more physics and more ways to bring animations and characters to life if the effort by the developer is put in.Every asset in a game needs a certain amount of effort to make it either triple A quality or a pile of rubbish.

    Then it takes time to think of and code real in depth systems,instead of just having a few common ones that are very easy to implement like as in connect the dot questing games.Click npc,trigger a response,access sub program/database ,get a response/request.Pull up map look for the now seen marker showing you exactly where to go,kill 10 bears,trigger has been met,go back click npc triggers the reward loot table,receive loot ,go to next npc and repeat the exact same series of triggers with nothing more than different parameters.It is VERY easy to make 2000 of these and just utilize the same small set of code/triggers.

    Combat can go in many ways when comes to depth and should be tied in with accuracy ,partial accuracy resistances,types of damage,weather etc etc.Some games just do combat in a very basic way.

    Even the simplest idea of levels could be done a heck of a lot better but most devs choose the simple route,a simple math equation that simply adds xp and changes your level number.

    COST?? that can vary dramatically from developer to developer,their skills,preparation design BEFORE hiring tons of staff to carry it out.Work environment,are the employees rushed to finish work even if it is subpar etc etc.
    A Star Citizen team could waste through a couple hundred million and return a sub par product,another developer could spend 50 million and make a small but neat/tidy well thought out game.
    But NOBODY is making a half assed tossed together game based on slow UNPREDICTABLE money coming in over months ,years and nobody is making a HQ mmorpg on anything less than about 40-50 million.

    Never forget 3 mile Island and never trust a government official or company spokesman.

  • SirAgravaineSirAgravaine Member UncommonPosts: 309
    edited September 23
    This article is misleading. Some games are formulaic and take very little R&D (think, NBA2KXX games or even the Call of Duty series). These sort of games are more concerned with incremental updates to engine and systems, and possibly new asset creation. The reduced number of bugs and systems-related issues that franchise games run into compared to 'new' games is dramatic.

    I also think that the cost to make a game should be compared to the cost to make a movie. The major difference between the two is how long the content/asset creation takes and how that affects the production schedule. On average, movies take about 3-4 years to be conceptualized, cast, produced, shot, edited, and released. Comparatively costed games are around the same average, if not slightly higher due to the time asset/content creation takes. In many cases developers are creating scripted events and other activities that might add up to 6-20 hours of content, compared to a movie that generally is only 2 hours of content. 

    Now let's take an exception to these sorts of comparisons and look at a movie that really compares to a game: Avatar. The script, or "design document" for this movie was written a full 15 years before the movie was released. The movie itself took nearly 5 years to make, as much of the special-effects were integrated in completely new and arguably revolutionizing ways. This is the sort of R&D that is analogous to 'new' games, which MMORPGs often are, as they don't make good franchise games (unless you are Bungie).

    With that said... the average cost of an MMORPG should be compared to a movie (at whatever price point or quality we are talking, C, B, A, AAA). The average time to develop should be comparable to Jame's Cameron's Avatar, or perhaps take longer. Most MMORPGs historically, are in production for 5 years, while some take longer (ESO took nearly 8 years, as development started shortly after Oblivion's launch in 2006, launching in 2004).

    What does this mean for Star Citizen? Considering it is the most detailed Space game ever made, as well as integrating realistic physics, animation, damage and other new/innovated systems that required R&D...it means that Star Citizen may take 5-8 years to make and it will cost as much or more than a big budget movie like Avatar (cost-adjusted to 2017).
    Post edited by SirAgravaine on
    Gdemami
  • SpottyGekkoSpottyGekko JohannesburgMember EpicPosts: 6,542
    edited September 24
    Scolioz said:
    there's no difference [mod edit].. it's all still made exactly the same way...  if anything it should be even cheaper to make these days with all the advances in technology and time saving third party software
    Yup, and game devs still get paid the same amount as they did back in 2001!

    Hmmm... maybe that explains some of the odd things we're seeing these days... :wink:
    Post edited by Vaross on
    SirAgravaine
  • SirAgravaineSirAgravaine Member UncommonPosts: 309
    edited September 24
    Scolioz said:
    there's no difference [mod edit].. it's all still made exactly the same way...  if anything it should be even cheaper to make these days with all the advances in technology and time saving third party software
    It is obvious that you know very little about game development, the economy, and much much more.
    Post edited by Vaross on
  • EldurianEldurian Member EpicPosts: 1,782
    Scolioz said:
    there's no difference [mod edit].. it's all still made exactly the same way...  if anything it should be even cheaper to make these days with all the advances in technology and time saving third party software
    Sure. It is cheaper to make a game like this than it was in 1986:



    And it's cheaper to make a game like this than it was in 1998:



    But perhaps you are forgetting Star Citizen looks like this:



    And it's an MMO to boot. MMOs have never been cheap. Especially ones with graphics that would look good in the latest single player FPS title.
  • MadFrenchieMadFrenchie Nashville, TNMember EpicPosts: 2,448
    Eldurian said:

    But perhaps you are forgetting Star Citizen looks like this:



    And it's an MMO to boot. MMOs have never been cheap. Especially ones with graphics that would look good in the latest single player FPS title.
    That, in and of itself, is worrying about the future of the title.  There's a reason MMORPGs have never been so cutting edge on the graphics.

    It seems more realistic that SC will end up as a multiplayer title that uses a lot of MMORPG tropes, as opposed to a full-fledged MMORPG.
    Gdemami

    image
  • EldurianEldurian Member EpicPosts: 1,782
    Scolioz said:
    Dark Age of Camelot cost 2.5 million...  and was one of the most successful MMORPG's ever made.. sorry but it doesn't cost anywhere even remotely near 144 million dollars and 400 people to build a video game...  anyone who believes that is a f'ing idiot.

    Just like it doesn't cost millions of dollars to build a website but if you know the right person in the government you might get a contract to design a government website for a million bucks


    Enough said.
    Erillion
  • EldurianEldurian Member EpicPosts: 1,782
    edited October 3
    Eldurian said:

    But perhaps you are forgetting Star Citizen looks like this:



    And it's an MMO to boot. MMOs have never been cheap. Especially ones with graphics that would look good in the latest single player FPS title.
    That, in and of itself, is worrying about the future of the title.  There's a reason MMORPGs have never been so cutting edge on the graphics.

    It seems more realistic that SC will end up as a multiplayer title that uses a lot of MMORPG tropes, as opposed to a full-fledged MMORPG.
    Well the plan is apparently to make the whole universe dynamic layers. I haven't done a huge amount of research into it but as far as I understand it, if there are too many people in one area, they will break the area into multiple instances to increase performance.

    That does give rise to a question "Is it still an MMO?" but in terms of gameplay, the reason I love MMOs most is the ability to randomly encounter other players while out roaming the world. Not the idea of a 500 vs. 500 player lagfest/zergfest.

    So whether or not it fit's my classic definition of an MMO, it does allow for random encounters with other players both as an individual and as a small group. And I'm perfectly satisfied by that.
    Post edited by Eldurian on
    Gdemami
  • CrazKanukCrazKanuk Elmira, ONMember EpicPosts: 5,748
    Eldurian said:

    But perhaps you are forgetting Star Citizen looks like this:



    And it's an MMO to boot. MMOs have never been cheap. Especially ones with graphics that would look good in the latest single player FPS title.
    That, in and of itself, is worrying about the future of the title.  There's a reason MMORPGs have never been so cutting edge on the graphics.

    It seems more realistic that SC will end up as a multiplayer title that uses a lot of MMORPG tropes, as opposed to a full-fledged MMORPG.

    Is this a statement of fact or just speculation? Remember that the infrastructure in place back in "the day" was MUCH more restrictive that what it is today, as well. While graphics might have something to do with it, technical limitations could be second fiddle to just producing something that will run on the majority of systems on the market. I don't think I've read anything about how it's technically impossible. I think it's more about practical use and how well it actually runs on Joe Anybody's system. 

    Crazkanuk

    ----------------
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  • Turrican187Turrican187 WernigerodeMember UncommonPosts: 633
    edited October 3
    CrazKanuk said:
    Eldurian said:

    But perhaps you are forgetting Star Citizen looks like this:



    And it's an MMO to boot. MMOs have never been cheap. Especially ones with graphics that would look good in the latest single player FPS title.
    That, in and of itself, is worrying about the future of the title.  There's a reason MMORPGs have never been so cutting edge on the graphics.

    It seems more realistic that SC will end up as a multiplayer title that uses a lot of MMORPG tropes, as opposed to a full-fledged MMORPG.

    Is this a statement of fact or just speculation? Remember that the infrastructure in place back in "the day" was MUCH more restrictive that what it is today, as well. While graphics might have something to do with it, technical limitations could be second fiddle to just producing something that will run on the majority of systems on the market. I don't think I've read anything about how it's technically impossible. I think it's more about practical use and how well it actually runs on Joe Anybody's system. 
    Easy thing - Clients Video Lag results in Network Lag though to rubberbanding and shadowing the affected client for other players.
    Reason: UDP can not calculate the next step if the client is sending dodgy data cause of low FPS.
    Post edited by Turrican187 on
    Gdemami

    When you have cake, it is not the cake that creates the most magnificent of experiences, but it is the emotions attached to it.
    The cake is a lie.

  • AlbatroesAlbatroes Member EpicPosts: 3,442
    Every time I hear news about this game, I can't help but always think that the devs of this game are saying "2$s to the project and 1$ to me!"
  • alivenaliven SzczytnoMember UncommonPosts: 265
    But you know that publisher also pump moneys into product right? Faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar more than any indie could ever dream to afford. 
  • lahnmirlahnmir UtrechtMember RarePosts: 901
    edited October 7

    I dont know if this next bit was aimed at CIG but it sure seems like it:
    Say you’re a massive publisher that’s trying to compete with the Red Dead Redemptions and Destinys of the world. You’re making a military shooter, of course. In order to hit the graphical fidelity that your fans expect, you need a staff of at least 400, and you need to give them three years (36 months). 400 * 36 * 10,000 = $144,000,000. And that’s before the inevitable delay, not to mention the marketing. Those CGI commercials aren’t gonna pay for themselves.

    https://kotaku.com/why-video-games-cost-so-much-to-make-1818508211




    For the fun of it I decided to find out how much Red Dead Redemption and Destiny actually cost to make, including inflation correction. I am going with the 144.000.000 on production alone and guess what?

    Red Dead Redemption made today would cost 99 million dollars on development. Other costs have never been released by Rockstar. Destiny's production costs today would be 143 million with a total sum of 513 million having been spent.

    Funny thing that when it comes to production costs is that  SWtOR is still the most expensive game ever made with a whopping 213 million budget. Other costs were never released by EA unfortunately. Also, Final Fantasy 15s budget has never been released but it must have been an all time high contender too.

    So, your 144 million is aiming high, extremely high even when you consider development to be 3 years. Destiny was in development for 4 years so according to that formula it should have cost 192 million, it didn't. SWtOR was in development for 5 years (at least) so should have cost 240 million which it also didn't. 

    I think the 144.000.000 number is high, too high. Even compared to the most expensive game ever made. If this number is related to SC in any way, then they are big spenders, the biggest spenders actually.

    /Cheers,
    Lahnmir

    Post edited by lahnmir on
    Gdemami
    'the only way he could nail it any better is if he used a cross.'

    Kyleran on yours sincerely 

  • LobotomistLobotomist ZagrebMember RarePosts: 5,642
    Best example would be probably largest scale and most ambitious game to date GTA V
    cost 265 million $ to make.

    It is also to date most expensive entertainment product to date, including Hollywood films.

    Now, huge bulk of game cost goes for marketing. Often 50% of cost. In case of GTAV the marketing was easily 150 million.

    This is very obviously not needed for SC because this game does not leave the news since it was first announced. ( and no press is bad press ) Which is probably not intended, but actually very good for SC.

    With so far having over 150 million $ collected from crowdfunding, and probably doubled from investors. Its easily most expensive game in history - with absolutely nothing to show for it.

    Well done Mr Roberts
    Gdemami



  • ErillionErillion Member EpicPosts: 7,984
    >>> and probably doubled from investors.  >>>

    ???



    Have fun
    rpmcmurphy
  • RosenborgRosenborg Member UncommonPosts: 73
    Best example would be probably largest scale and most ambitious game to date GTA V
    cost 265 million $ to make.

    It is also to date most expensive entertainment product to date, including Hollywood films.

    Now, huge bulk of game cost goes for marketing. Often 50% of cost. In case of GTAV the marketing was easily 150 million.

    This is very obviously not needed for SC because this game does not leave the news since it was first announced. ( and no press is bad press ) Which is probably not intended, but actually very good for SC.

    With so far having over 150 million $ collected from crowdfunding, and probably doubled from investors. Its easily most expensive game in history - with absolutely nothing to show for it.

    Well done Mr Roberts

    Not quite true really. The most expensive entertainment product ever made, is this independent film called, Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace.

    The real budget of that film is unknown because George Lucas owned ILM. But Steven Spielberg said at the time, had he made that film, the CGI alone would have cost him 400 million dollars.
    Gdemami
  • LobotomistLobotomist ZagrebMember RarePosts: 5,642
    Rosenborg said:
    Best example would be probably largest scale and most ambitious game to date GTA V
    cost 265 million $ to make.

    It is also to date most expensive entertainment product to date, including Hollywood films.

    Now, huge bulk of game cost goes for marketing. Often 50% of cost. In case of GTAV the marketing was easily 150 million.

    This is very obviously not needed for SC because this game does not leave the news since it was first announced. ( and no press is bad press ) Which is probably not intended, but actually very good for SC.

    With so far having over 150 million $ collected from crowdfunding, and probably doubled from investors. Its easily most expensive game in history - with absolutely nothing to show for it.

    Well done Mr Roberts

    Not quite true really. The most expensive entertainment product ever made, is this independent film called, Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace.

    The real budget of that film is unknown because George Lucas owned ILM. But Steven Spielberg said at the time, had he made that film, the CGI alone would have cost him 400 million dollars.
    I am obviously not talking about speculative sums, just about projects that disclosed their budgets. This is the only way to make an informed discussion.

    ---------------------

    As for doubled budget of SC. During original kickstarter Roberts claimed that his investors will double any pledge made by the community. If its still so, we can not be sure. But project that is so popular in preorders most certainly attracted a lot of investors. And knowing that Roberts is not averse to more money, its certainly guaranteed a large sum was added to game from investors.

    Investment of 50 million is quite modest for such ambitious project. And really not that hard to gather at this scale.

    So I think its completely cafe to say SC has minimum 200 million budget so far.
    Gdemami



  • ErillionErillion Member EpicPosts: 7,984
    >>> During original kickstarter Roberts claimed that his investors will double any pledge made by the community.  >>>

    But with the huge, world-record success of the crowdfunding campaign, the need for investors was gone. And Chris Roberts had no longer a need to approach investors beyond the crowdfunding backers. There are no known investors that have added a significant sum of money (lets say 1 M$ or more).

    Unless you know of someone - please add a source for your information.


    Have fun
    Gdemami
  • RosenborgRosenborg Member UncommonPosts: 73
    Rosenborg said:
    Best example would be probably largest scale and most ambitious game to date GTA V
    cost 265 million $ to make.

    It is also to date most expensive entertainment product to date, including Hollywood films.

    Now, huge bulk of game cost goes for marketing. Often 50% of cost. In case of GTAV the marketing was easily 150 million.

    This is very obviously not needed for SC because this game does not leave the news since it was first announced. ( and no press is bad press ) Which is probably not intended, but actually very good for SC.

    With so far having over 150 million $ collected from crowdfunding, and probably doubled from investors. Its easily most expensive game in history - with absolutely nothing to show for it.

    Well done Mr Roberts

    Not quite true really. The most expensive entertainment product ever made, is this independent film called, Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace.

    The real budget of that film is unknown because George Lucas owned ILM. But Steven Spielberg said at the time, had he made that film, the CGI alone would have cost him 400 million dollars.
    I am obviously not talking about speculative sums, just about projects that disclosed their budgets. This is the only way to make an informed discussion.

    ---------------------

    As for doubled budget of SC. During original kickstarter Roberts claimed that his investors will double any pledge made by the community. If its still so, we can not be sure. But project that is so popular in preorders most certainly attracted a lot of investors. And knowing that Roberts is not averse to more money, its certainly guaranteed a large sum was added to game from investors.

    Investment of 50 million is quite modest for such ambitious project. And really not that hard to gather at this scale.

    So I think its completely cafe to say SC has minimum 200 million budget so far.
    Talk about speculating.. :D
    GdemamiErillion
  • LobotomistLobotomist ZagrebMember RarePosts: 5,642
    Erillion said:
    >>> During original kickstarter Roberts claimed that his investors will double any pledge made by the community.  >>>

    But with the huge, world-record success of the crowdfunding campaign, the need for investors was gone. And Chris Roberts had no longer a need to approach investors beyond the crowdfunding backers. There are no known investors that have added a significant sum of money (lets say 1 M$ or more).

    Unless you know of someone - please add a source for your information.


    Have fun

    Reasonable.

    Still 150 million dollars is humongous budget ( and that is outdated report - its probably more by now )


    so without any SPECULATION , SC easily falls into most expensive games ever developed 

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most_expensive_video_games_to_develop

    p.s

    Based on wikipedia GTAV development cost without marketing was 137 million, so its actually less expensive than SC

    Gdemami



  • GdemamiGdemami Member EpicPosts: 10,778
    so without any SPECULATION
    Do you even understand what that word means?
    ConstantineMerus
  • ElsaboltsElsabolts Anderson, InMember RarePosts: 3,141
    I see along with Item shop, subscription fee incoming.
    " Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Those Who  Would Threaten It "
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  • kikoodutroa8kikoodutroa8 grenobleMember UncommonPosts: 319
    Erillion said:
    >>> During original kickstarter Roberts claimed that his investors will double any pledge made by the community.  >>>

    But with the huge, world-record success of the crowdfunding campaign, the need for investors was gone. And Chris Roberts had no longer a need to approach investors beyond the crowdfunding backers. There are no known investors that have added a significant sum of money (lets say 1 M$ or more).

    Unless you know of someone - please add a source for your information.


    Have fun

    Reasonable.

    Still 150 million dollars is humongous budget ( and that is outdated report - its probably more by now )


    so without any SPECULATION , SC easily falls into most expensive games ever developed 

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most_expensive_video_games_to_develop

    p.s

    Based on wikipedia GTAV development cost without marketing was 137 million, so its actually less expensive than SC

    That's because GTAV is a console game, while Star Citizen is a genuine pc game.


    "They said I was dead. They said console was the future. Now they say mobile and tablets are the future. I say to you, the reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated."


  • Mtibbs1989Mtibbs1989 Member UncommonPosts: 3,113
    edited October 7
    Erillion said:
    >>> During original kickstarter Roberts claimed that his investors will double any pledge made by the community.  >>>

    But with the huge, world-record success of the crowdfunding campaign, the need for investors was gone. And Chris Roberts had no longer a need to approach investors beyond the crowdfunding backers. There are no known investors that have added a significant sum of money (lets say 1 M$ or more).

    Unless you know of someone - please add a source for your information.


    Have fun

    Reasonable.

    Still 150 million dollars is humongous budget ( and that is outdated report - its probably more by now )


    so without any SPECULATION , SC easily falls into most expensive games ever developed 

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most_expensive_video_games_to_develop

    p.s

    Based on wikipedia GTAV development cost without marketing was 137 million, so its actually less expensive than SC

    That list is very off, SWTOR was estimated to cost anywhere between $200-300,000,000 USD. It also had one of the largest advertising campaigns...
    Post edited by Mtibbs1989 on

    image

    Somebody, somewhere has better skills as you have, more experience as you have, is smarter than you, has more friends as you do and can stay online longer. Just pray he's not out to get you.
  • DMKanoDMKano Gamercentral, AKMember LegendaryPosts: 16,700
    Marketing cost is usually higher than the entire dev cost.

    In some major AAA cases marketing cost is 5x or more of dev cost.

    Gdemami
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