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I think a big question will be how much the new middleware costs and how much it can help curb developer costs. Things like XNA, Unreal Engine, and other various middleware programs should help curb "some" things. You must remember, this is a large market. Costs will always increase to incredible amounts. Look at the movie industry, they spend $20m JUST on marketing. $100m to make a movie 10 years ago seemed to be crazy, but now most blockbusters start out at $100m and go upto $200m for a 3 hour movie! There's far more content in a game for 1/10th the price for a decent game. I believe that middleware will really help reduce the prices. Epic made GoW for $10m. Why? Unreal Engine. Most likely, it helped them curb their costs due to their devs knowing how to use it better than just building a brand new engine. Compare that $10m to the $12m it cost to make Red Steel...Just because a game is flashier shouldn't always mean a much higher dev price IF they can reliably use middleware, and documentation software to get more bang for their buck. If MS, Sony and Nintendo REALLY wanted to win the next-gen wars, they'd start putting together deals and packages with middleware production groups to allow devs to get a suite to build games without having to always build their own engines. Might restrict some content, but at the same time, it'd get costs down. I think MS is trying to do the right thing with XNA, and getting UE3 engine out there to devs to promote middleware...Same thing with using XNA to port 360 games to PC and vice versa, as it saves costs on multi-platforming games. Devs either have to make a game cheap or go multi. Therefore, it's in the big 3's intrests to use middleware, give devs better documentation software, and actually start putting the dev's intrests in mind. Its time they realize that the hardware means nothing if the devs can't use it. The hardware is just the pallete and colors of the artist, and companies like Sony are taking the items away due to outrageous archatectures.

Back from the dead, I'm afraid.