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

Mar1217 said:
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.

Marvel of its time is a bit of an overstatement. To be clear, I love me some Xenoblade Chronicles X, but while it was amazing for a Wii U game, it launched in the same year as Witcher 3. I actually like XBCX a lot better, but on a technical level it wasn't cutting edge outside of its console.



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curl-6 said:

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.

It is the most expensive game they've made.

There have been very few Nintendo games that were either unprofitable or not sufficiently profitable. The most prominent example of the past decade is Metroid: Other M; while its unit sales look fine, much of that is simply due to retailers offloading the too high initial shipment at bargain prices. This is why the Metroid IP has been on the backburner for a decade despite everpresent demand for new Metroid games.



Legend11 correctly predicted that GTA IV (360+PS3) would outsell SSBB. I was wrong.

A Biased Review Reloaded / Open Your Eyes / Switch Shipments

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.

The team that made XCX was ridiculously small for a ridiculously huge and artistically beautiful game. It speaks volumes about the speed and skill of the team. There are mobile games supported by larger teams than the XCX dev team - granted, these are high profit games with frequent updates, so it’s more like a collection of 4-6 smaller dev teams working on the same project. The new Avatar mobile game has something like 200 employees mostly working on it. Supercell has 320 employees mainly across 2 games, and I’m not sure if those counts involve their QA staff which is often done by contracting other companies, but it’s not unusual for mobile companies to have several internal QA.

Takahashi has always been like that, though. He somehow made Xenogears in 2 years, and while the game was crunched down from what it was envisioned as, what remained was still one of the biggest RPGs made to that date.



I describe myself as a little dose of toxic masculinity.

Nintendo is a fiscally conservative company compared to the others. I get the impression they pay their employees well, but don't do a ton of spending in other areas like the others do. Also, their games sell at MSRP pretty much forever (unless they release them in Select form), so unlike Sony/Microsoft/Third party (who start selling below MSRP mere months after release), Nintendo will continue to make tons of money off these games.



We do know the Mario team size for each respective title from 5 SMB, to 60 SMG and last figure 90 SM3DW.

Source: https://nintendo-online.de/artikel/report/18111/inside-nintendo-47-das-super-mario-entwicklerteam-unter-der-lupe

Via: https://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/thread/189086/mario-team-dev-size-90-sm3dw-60-smg-and-5-smb/



@Twitter | Switch | Steam

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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

Hahah!  This is why Nintendo is awesome.  They budget games so that they would be profitable even on a dud system like the Wii U.  And on a really successful system, like the Switch, they make crazy profits.

Of course, the real profit making potential on a game like BotW is it's ability to sell hardware.  The biggest profits come from multiplication and not addition.  Calculate the profits on 20m copies of BotW and that is thinking in "addition" terms.  But a bigger install base increases the sales of every new game that is released.  That is thinking in "multiplication" terms.  Also a bigger install base means more titles will come to the system.  That is also multiplication.  On a system like the Switch, it's profitable even if you only count revenue from third party royalties.  And then when you also count first party sales, hardware sales, subscriptions, etc... then it's ridiculously profitable.

The real measure of a first party game is not if it generated a profit.  The real measure is in how well it moves hardware.  Profits on a single game is money addition.  Having a bigger install base is money multiplication.  So Nintendo probably broke even or made a minor profit on systems like the Gamecube or Wii U, but they are still duds, because their games didn't move hardware.  Why break even when you can make mad, stupid profits?  This is the idea of opportunity cost.  Nintendo wastes time and money when they make games that don't move hardware.  Games that move hardware are a good investment.

So if a game makes a profit, that alone doesn't make it a good candidate for a sequel.  Almost every Nintendo published game makes a profit.  But there is still a big difference between a system like the Switch and a system like the Wii U.  They need to make games that move hardware so they keep having Switch-like sales instead of Wii U-like sales.



Dulfite said:
I get the impression they pay their employees well,

86,583$ annually is the average salary:

https://www.nintendolife.com/news/2020/07/nintendo_reveals_average_age_and_salary_of_its_employees_as_of_march_2020



If BOTW needed 2 million to break even then that would make the budget 120 million. I doubt BOTW2 budget is as high since most of the assets and engine are made. Nintendo likely has some very modest budget compared to Sony first-party games. BOTW was probably their most expensive game by a large margine. Here I am remembering when the $70 million Shenmue in 1999 was the most expensive game ever made and kept that record until sometime in the 7th generation.



Bite my shiny metal cockpit!

deerox said:
Dulfite said:
I get the impression they pay their employees well,

86,583$ annually is the average salary:

https://www.nintendolife.com/news/2020/07/nintendo_reveals_average_age_and_salary_of_its_employees_as_of_march_2020

Not bad. I earn less.



Gameplay > Graphics

Substance > Style

Art Direction > Realism

Leynos said:
If BOTW needed 2 million to break even then that would make the budget 120 million. I doubt BOTW2 budget is as high since most of the assets and engine are made. Nintendo likely has some very modest budget compared to Sony first-party games. BOTW was probably their most expensive game by a large margine. Here I am remembering when the $70 million Shenmue in 1999 was the most expensive game ever made and kept that record until sometime in the 7th generation.

Even for first party Nintendo don't get 100% of the game revenue, because of retailers and other costs (like distribution). I think 60-70% is a better estimation, BOTW budget was probably something under 80 million USD