Forums - Microsoft Discussion - Developers see costs double for Durango sequels to Xbox 360 titles

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Developers with access to the Durango (the code name for Microsoft's next console) are seeing costs rise sharply, primarily due to higher polygon counts and better textures required. "I'm having to double my budget for models," said one developer working on a sequel to an earlier title that appeared on Xbox 360 and PS3. "If we want to take advantage of Durango's capabilities it takes a lot more time for each model." This can also result in either a longer time to develop a title, or the need to put more artists on, or both.

Similar budget issues are expected for the PlayStation 4 (codename 'Orbis') and the Wii U. The Wii U's development costs will be higher than Wii titles due to increased resolution, but utilizing the tablet controller will also mean additional time in design. Some uses for the tablet controller seem obvious, like diagramming plays in a Madden game using your finger. Using the tablet controller in other games may be more challenging, depending on how much the developers want to create something unique for the Wii U (spending extra on that development that is not needed for other platforms).

At a time when many console titles have been finding it more difficult to make a profit, the prospect of doubling already considerable budgets is not making publishers happy. They are already looking to find ways to increase the revenue potential of their development efforts. The rumors of ways to cut down or eliminate the sale of used games may be part of that. At the least, we can expect more widespread adoption of the Online Pass, requiring buyers of a used title to pay a registration fee to the publisher in order to access online multiplayer game sessions.

More extensive DLC options are also likely. We may see a wider variety of price points, and in-game purchasing, as well as efforts to make the process of buying DLC as easy as possible. Subscription services like Call of Duty Elite are also being looked at; Activision's service has been well-received by fans. Expect other publishers (particularly Electronic Arts) to follow suit for top titles.

Increasing budgets, more extensive content, and cross-platform tie-ins through social networks are all part of the next-generation landscape, apparently. The implication is that publisher will be even more likely to focus on proven franchises, while new titles will have even greater odds against their success. The blockbusters will get bigger, and their marketing budgets will increase. New concepts will find it harder to get funding, and will be given fewer chances to succeed by big publishers.

Bucking the trend will be increasing opportunities for smaller, independent developers. Next-gen consoles should provide at least the same opportunities that Xbox Live and PlayStation Network provide now for indies. Competitive pressures from mobile and social games may help next-gen consoles make things even easier for indie developers. The new Nintendo Network will provide another outlet for indie developers as well. Smaller products with smaller budgets will provide more opportunity for innovation in IP and design, as Will Wright noted in his recent interview.

http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2012-04-03-next-gen-consoles-mean-increased-development-costs



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It was the same case current gen. Nintendo tried to keep the cost down by going SD and we see how that turned out.
Nothing to worry about, we'll get our pretty looking games, regardless of cost.

This should be no issue at all for most devs, if they are building engines from scratch, the budgets will not go any higher in later games, they get get smaller in fact especially if they shop the engine around to other devs.

i've said this for 2 yr.'s now. as consoles get more advanced, cost inevitably go up.

so what happened to that whole procedural content concept? if costs are rising with the old set of tools why aren't they investing more into making better tools?!?

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I very much doubt that higher-res textures justify a higher budget. For multiplat games (with a PC version) there are already more detailed textures available.
Furthermore there are more advanced tools than before. CryEngine 3 allows for developing on 3 platforms at the same time. Unreal Engine 3 is dirt cheap to license ($1m) and I guess UE4 won't be much more.

Every new gen means bigger budgets for game development. This is not news to me.

Developers should expect this. I mean, they are the ones demanding the big 3 to release systems that push the technological limits. So they should obviously be expecting costs to rise along with that. I just hope those costs are not pushed down to us, gaming has become a very expensive hobby, and only seems to be going in an upward trend. I just cannot justify buying all the games I want now because of time and price. If games start costing 70, 80, 90 dollars, then we are going to get majorly shafted.

Barozi said:
I very much doubt that higher-res textures justify a higher budget. For multiplat games (with a PC version) there are already more detailed textures available.
Furthermore there are more advanced tools than before. CryEngine 3 allows for developing on 3 platforms at the same time. Unreal Engine 3 is dirt cheap to license ($1m) and I guess UE4 won't be much more.


You read my thought! SCAAAAAARY!!!   

 

Edit. I also agree with MessiaH and kitler53.



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that's why i think chapter games at 30 bucks on launch with regular scheduled releases of DLC with different prices for different content and discounts over time.... or even online renting... micro transaction etc.... with no disc at all could actually make it cheaper on us while over all more profitable for the devs... allowing to try new things in theur franchise... giving them more flexibility in them to correct misdirection.... and stop something that doesn't work before fully commiting...
first the obvious if you cut transport production of disc, boxes and crates for all this games i'm sure it's a lot saved already.... but we will end up buying more games and content on average because we'll have access to content we want specifically... something like crimson alliance dud in 10X better.... why soend on things you won't use in a game or for games you like but every once in while so you can buy next chapter in a year when it's half price