Forums - Gaming Discussion - Are wii development costs really cheaper?

I hope the topic isn't used for flaming but this is something I'm curious about since my logical brain is yet to understand this concept. Part of this post is spwned from my post in the thread about iD's boss' comments.

Games are made with computers using technology the studio already possess. This is a fixed cost thats already covered except the studio gets additional resources just to make game X. Aside from that, won't the greater cost of develpment be the maintenance of the studio itself? By this, I mean the personnel cost i.e employee wages. Therefore, from my understanding game X would cost around 20 million (add a few extra in case of a borrowed technology and marketing) if 50 employees making $100K/year were working on it for 4 years.

So if game X is your average ps360 game and you switch the team of split the team of 50 into 2 teams of 25 to make 4 wii AAA games instead (each costing 5 mil + marketing costs due to production over a 2 year period) over the 4 year period, does this make wii delopment cheaper/less risky? Assuming game X needs 1 mil sold to break even and the new wii games need 250K to break even, are the wii games guaranteed 250K? It may seem like they are with the mighty wii userbase but remember that even in the ps2 era some great games underperformed even though ps2 had a massive userbase at the time of their release. There is such a thing as market saturation.

If you switch the people who were making ps360 games to wii games, how would there be a significant decrease in cost if these guys don't take a pay cut? Also, since wii games apparently take less time to develop, would these guys always be working on something to justify their paychecks or would they be fired and rehired or are we just going to have lots of studio downsizing as part of the paradigm shift to wii game production because if you think about it, the costs to the publisher are still the same whether it be 1 HD console game of the 4 wii games.

I think we have our current problem because of the # of people it takes to make a great game nowadays. Unless a lot of these people are laid off, I don't think game development would be cheaper regardless of what platform you develop for.

Someone please correct me if I'm off because I still don't understand exactly why wii development would be much cheaper. I hope my rant is understandable...I hardly ever create threads lol.



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I think development is cheaper because partly because of the limitations of the Wii and largley because less is required in from the developer , they don't have to make expansive worlds with incredible attention to detail , have hours of dialogue and blockbuster cinematics.



Pristine20, your post is confusing.

Ur saying it yourself, u get 4 Wii games for the price of 1 HD game. So conclusion is yes, Wii dev costs are lower.



It's been quoted a few times from devs that it's 1/3 the cost or something. I'm not sure what the specifics are for the 1/3, and he could have meant quite a few different things with that. Is it 1/3 the cost because the games generally made for the Wii have way less effort put into them, or is it that the same size project on the Wii costs 1/3 as much as the same project on HD consoles?



(Engineless) Wii games built from the ground up usually are compared to HD (engineless) games.

A lot of mismanagement seems to result from porting (*ahem* Capcom), so things may get messed up financially.



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wfz said:
It's been quoted a few times from devs that it's 1/3 the cost or something. I'm not sure what the specifics are for the 1/3, and he could have meant quite a few different things with that. Is it 1/3 the cost because the games generally made for the Wii have way less effort put into them, or is it that the same size project on the Wii costs 1/3 as much as the same project on HD consoles?

 

Alternative no. 1 of course.



There are the issues of utilizing engines and whatnot, the idea that you can make a long-term investment in HD Development by maintaining an engine and thus bringing costs down for successive games. But these are alternatives that can only really be applied by the biggest and the best 3rd parties effectively, and therein lies the problem

 

Wii games fetch more profit, if less revenue, so it depends on how it incorporates into your strategy. But as a rule of thumb, it is just cheaper.



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Pristine20 said:


If you switch the people who were making ps360 games to wii games, how would there be a significant decrease in cost if these guys don't take a pay cut? Also, since wii games apparently take less time to develop, would these guys always be working on something to justify their paychecks or would they be fired and rehired or are we just going to have lots of studio downsizing as part of the paradigm shift to wii game production because if you think about it, the costs to the publisher are still the same whether it be 1 HD console game of the 4 wii games.

 

they don't take a pay cut, that's just stupid.  it's all about the number of manhours, the total number of hours put into the project by every employ working on the project.  so like you said, "wii games apparently take less time to develop" and therefore cost less money.

think of it like this, a 40 member team over the same timeperiod could either put out 1 HD game or ~3 wii games (just made those numbers up btw, don't quote them as absolute fact).  if the combined sales of 3 wii games is lager than 1 HD game than the wii games were a better investment.

 



wfz said:
It's been quoted a few times from devs that it's 1/3 the cost or something. I'm not sure what the specifics are for the 1/3, and he could have meant quite a few different things with that. Is it 1/3 the cost because the games generally made for the Wii have way less effort put into them, or is it that the same size project on the Wii costs 1/3 as much as the same project on HD consoles?

 

It's the size of the project largely because of the graphic assets.  Less details on the object maps and textures, less small objects because the wii can't handle as many, etc...

 

If you are talking effort and quality, then it would be like 1/10th or less...



On the surface, it seems like a good thing, doesn't it?

If you peel away the layers of the "Wii games are cheaper to develop" and turn it into "Wii games are cheaper", the picture becomes a lot clearer through dichotomy.  If you throw in the fact that marketing is a good chunk (I would say near half) of the investment in a HD game, and marketing costs don't change by platform, then the statement goes from "misleading" to "wildly inaccurate".