This week we had a talk from John Healey who has worked on games such as Juiced and Blur. During the talk John touches upon how a project that he had worked on as one of the main designers had been cancelled. He also mentions that this is partially due to the long the development times and rising cost of creating games. Video games have gone from taking around two years to make a few years ago to now taking 2-5 years to create. This means that video game studios now have to sell more games to cover the cost of development.
As a new generation of video games is upon us the cost of video games is set to rise even further and put more strain on game studios. This is not all as bad as it seems because companies are coming up with new innovative ways to increase revenue and cover the cost of next generation games.
One way a company could take the risk out of a venture is with the release of a pilot episode as suggested by the Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima. He believes that releasing a small portion of game before jumping completely into the project would allow the developers to test the waters (Lambie 2013). Hideo is currently using a similar technique with the new Metal Gear Solid Game with the release of a prequel to the main game which will be released later in the year. This prequel cost £20 around half of what a full game would cost but only has a main story of around two hours. The game has been given extras to increase the game play time but it is clearly not a full game.
Another way developers can try to increase revenue is with DLC and more recently a season pass. The season pass business model was first introduced by Rockstar with LA Noir (GiantBomb N.D). This allowed the player to buy all the addition DLC before release at a discounted price. This significantly helps the developer because as time goes on and interest in the game dies off less people more likely to buy DLC for your game. A season pass however gives the player the opportunity to buy all the DLC why they are still heavily invested in the game. This business model is currently used on around thirty nine games and there are no signs of it going away.
In the future new business models will be tested by companies. Crytec recently announced that it will be no longer making packaged games but will be making console quality games for free. This means that they will still spend twenty to thirty million dollars creating a game but will offer in game purchases instead of making the gamer pay first.
Over all with the rising cost of creating video games companies will have to come up with new and innovative ways to increase revenue. These include free-to-play and episodic content. We will also see new business models introduced into the industry in the coming years moving games to a more of a service model rather than a one of cost.
Lambie, R (2013) “How will game studios beat the rising cost of development” [Onlone] Available at: http://www.denofgeek.com/games/24789/how-will-game-studios-beat-the-rising-cost-of-development [Accessed 29/04/14]
Kelly N (2012) “Crytek: All our future games will be free-to-play” [Online] Available at: http://www.videogamer.com/pc/warface/news/crytek_all_our_future_games_will_be_free-to-play.html [Accessed 29/04/14]
N.A. (N.D) “DLC Season Pass” [Online] available from: http://www.giantbomb.com/dlc-season-pass/3015-7186/ [Accessed 29/04/14]