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Forums - Nintendo Discussion - Does anyone have a source of the budget of Nintendo games?

I've never saw any official statement 

I wonder how many copies each Nintendo game need to sell in order to break even its costs

It will gave us the idea which franchises are truly profitable and are hard caring Nintendo financially 

Unlike movie industry, it's not common to show development costs of big productions. As far as the cinema goes, the box office performance each title must be sustainable. Meanwhile gaming studios are more likely to have some AAA games operating at loss as a proxy to building branding loyalty, while profiting a lot from cheap ports and remasters 



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I recall them saying that BOTW needed to sell 2 million copies to break even: https://www.forbes.com/sites/olliebarder/2016/06/30/zelda-breath-of-the-wild-needs-to-sell-2-million-copies-to-break-even/?sh=2a751ec1615f

Last edited by curl-6 - on 12 November 2020

Bet with Liquidlaser: I say PS5 and Xbox Series will sell more than 56 million combined by the end of 2023.

IcaroRibeiro said:

I've never saw any official statement 

I wonder how many copies each Nintendo game need to sell in order to break even its costs

It will gave us the idea which franchises are truly profitable and are hard caring Nintendo financially 

Unlike movie industry, it's not common to show development costs of big productions. As far as the cinema goes, the box office performance each title must be sustainable. Meanwhile gaming studios are more likely to have some AAA games operating at loss as a proxy to building branding loyalty, while profiting a lot from cheap ports and remasters 

Not a lot of info out there...

It's been reported that Fire Emblem Awakening would have needed to sell 250K to continue the franchise.

So... 250K would have been just about 10million in revenue. About 1/5 of that would probably be gobbled up by retailers. Meaning 8 million would have been profitable. There's also other non-development costs like shipping/packaging, etc. Based on that, I'd guestimate the budget at somewhere around 3-5 million, but that's just speculation. And obviously games on Switch are generally going to be more expensive to develop.



curl-6 said:

I recall them saying that BOTW needed to sell 2 million copies to break even: https://www.forbes.com/sites/olliebarder/2016/06/30/zelda-breath-of-the-wild-needs-to-sell-2-million-copies-to-break-even/?sh=2a751ec1615f

Hope they can make back that investment...



JWeinCom said:
IcaroRibeiro said:

I've never saw any official statement 

I wonder how many copies each Nintendo game need to sell in order to break even its costs

It will gave us the idea which franchises are truly profitable and are hard caring Nintendo financially 

Unlike movie industry, it's not common to show development costs of big productions. As far as the cinema goes, the box office performance each title must be sustainable. Meanwhile gaming studios are more likely to have some AAA games operating at loss as a proxy to building branding loyalty, while profiting a lot from cheap ports and remasters 

Not a lot of info out there...

It's been reported that Fire Emblem Awakening would have needed to sell 250K to continue the franchise.

So... 250K would have been just about 10million in revenue. About 1/5 of that would probably be gobbled up by retailers. Meaning 8 million would have been profitable. There's also other non-development costs like shipping/packaging, etc. Based on that, I'd guestimate the budget at somewhere around 3-5 million, but that's just speculation. And obviously games on Switch are generally going to be more expensive to develop.

250k does not seem enough pay all bills. I'm assuming with 250k was the minimum it needed to sell so they could try again, even with losses



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IcaroRibeiro said:
JWeinCom said:
IcaroRibeiro said:

I've never saw any official statement 

I wonder how many copies each Nintendo game need to sell in order to break even its costs

It will gave us the idea which franchises are truly profitable and are hard caring Nintendo financially 

Unlike movie industry, it's not common to show development costs of big productions. As far as the cinema goes, the box office performance each title must be sustainable. Meanwhile gaming studios are more likely to have some AAA games operating at loss as a proxy to building branding loyalty, while profiting a lot from cheap ports and remasters 

Not a lot of info out there...

It's been reported that Fire Emblem Awakening would have needed to sell 250K to continue the franchise.

So... 250K would have been just about 10million in revenue. About 1/5 of that would probably be gobbled up by retailers. Meaning 8 million would have been profitable. There's also other non-development costs like shipping/packaging, etc. Based on that, I'd guestimate the budget at somewhere around 3-5 million, but that's just speculation. And obviously games on Switch are generally going to be more expensive to develop.

250k does not seem enough pay all bills. I'm assuming with 250k was the minimum it needed to sell so they could try again, even with losses

I dunno about that. Fire Emblem doesn't seem like it would be that expensive. The gameplay is relatively simple, no physics, very little voice acting. 90% of the story is told through sprites and text. Characters didn't even have feet.  Seems like 10 million would be enough to pay everything off and have a little left over.



I recall hearing that Xenoblade Chronicles X (The Wii U game) was profitable. Don't have a source on that (years ago on IGN threads) but it's something that sticks with me. I think the general assumption is that the games tend to be profitable outside of specific exceptions even on the Wii U.



The Democratic Nintendo fan....is that a paradox? I'm fond of one of the more conservative companies in the industry, but I vote Liberally and view myself that way 90% of the time?

curl-6 said:

I recall them saying that BOTW needed to sell 2 million copies to break even: https://www.forbes.com/sites/olliebarder/2016/06/30/zelda-breath-of-the-wild-needs-to-sell-2-million-copies-to-break-even/?sh=2a751ec1615f

And with all it's trouble and years of developpement that's probably the extreme measure for which Nintendo titles are budgeted. 

Well ... maybe Metroid Prime 4 will end up with a similar budget ...

Anywoo, from this barem, it's kinda obvious to me that most Ninty releases don't need to sale much more than +1M to break even in this case.



Switch Friend Code : 3905-6122-2909 

Mar1217 said:
curl-6 said:

I recall them saying that BOTW needed to sell 2 million copies to break even: https://www.forbes.com/sites/olliebarder/2016/06/30/zelda-breath-of-the-wild-needs-to-sell-2-million-copies-to-break-even/?sh=2a751ec1615f

And with all it's trouble and years of developpement that's probably the extreme measure for which Nintendo titles are budgeted. 

Well ... maybe Metroid Prime 4 will end up with a similar budget ...

Anywoo, from this barem, it's kinda obvious to me that most Ninty releases don't need to sale much more than +1M to break even in this case.

Yeah considering its team size, complexity, production values, and development time, it wouldn't surprise me if BOTW is the most expensive game they've made to date.



Bet with Liquidlaser: I say PS5 and Xbox Series will sell more than 56 million combined by the end of 2023.

KrspaceT said:
I recall hearing that Xenoblade Chronicles X (The Wii U game) was profitable. Don't have a source on that (years ago on IGN threads) but it's something that sticks with me. I think the general assumption is that the games tend to be profitable outside of specific exceptions even on the Wii U.

Yet, the game was a technical marvel of it's time and it didn't even sale a million ...

Goes to show how sensitive Nintendo is with budgeting which I consider a quality when you know a western AAA producing a game like that would have overblown the budget in commercials lol.



Switch Friend Code : 3905-6122-2909