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Friday, November 18, 2005

Game Dev: Bigger and Badder?

Games that are based on content owned by others such as movie studios or are sports based have traditionally been a safer bet for developers than original content titles which have either sold extremely well or flopped completely.
-- Cost of making games set to soar (thanks

By badder, I don't necessarily mean that in the vernacular ironic "good" way. A whle back I got into a lengthly debate about why it's not surprising that the next generation games will be $10 more than current generation games. Lots of people cried conspiracy, but for one thing ... the numbers don't support that. Development costs have soared in recent years and will continue to soar. I tried to explain to people that even simple asset management was becoming a major cost for developers, which some suggested the developers were incompetent (which is funny, since I was referring to professionals who have worked on major titles).

The other side of the coin is licensing. While it's long been argued that creating your own franchise is far more valuable ... which is undeniable ... it's also far more risky. Plus, it's costly to create the next Sonic. You're not just advertising your game, you're advertising your character or your mythos.

I stepped out of that debate saying we'd see a rise in "epic" games. By epic I mean major franchise titles with enormous production budgets that would use overwhelming graphics and assets to justify their cost. These would be titles with track records and a lot of polish. Looking at the 360 launch lineup, I'd have to say we're seeing it slowly. The majority of the games that Microsoft has for it's best foot forward are sequels and quite a few are heralding their graphics as major selling point. The two major ones are PGR and Perfect Dark Zero. And those are just the start.

Course on the flip side, you see things like Live Arcade. Cell phones are becoming a major market. So is it possible we aren't seeing the complete Hollywoodization of gaming, merely a schism in the market itself?

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