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owillis

Game Development Costs?

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I know figures vary wildly from project to project but is there anywhere I can find some sort of industry average? Or perhaps numbers for specific products? IE: Quake 3 Madden 2000 The Sims ? Any help would be appreciated...

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Game costs can range wildly, but the average cost for a really grade ''A'' game is probably going to be at least $250k-$1 mill. , althoug some good products have been turned out with much less. One good example I know is Final Fantasy 7 & 8 each rang in at around $2 million EACH.(maybe more) but Myst was something like less than $50k (ive heard as low as $10k)

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Im so wary of the obsession with big game budgets. If you dont have an idea how much the budgets are, you arent familiar enough with the industry to get anyone to fund your project.
Look at Rollercoaster Tycoon, one of 1999s top selling games - written by one guy, with another guy part time. Must have cost well under a million dollars ;-)

http://www.positech.co.uk

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To get an idea of the budgets (and sometimes actual costs) for development of games, check out the post-mortems on www.gamasutra.com.

(And the way that the yen has been bouncing in the last few years, it''s really hard to get a good feel of how much they really did spend on the FFVII and FFVIII).

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Those numbers are NOT very accurate. I''d say a "A" list first person shooter is in the $2M-$5M dollar range. In a recent interview with Peter Molyneux, he said we are getting near a time when some games will approach the $10M budget mark. And Shen Mue, didn''t that game cost like $40M to make or something???

Do the math, for an average potential "A" title.
2 year schedule.
4 engineers at $50,000/yr (average) (this could vary wildly, both # of engineers, and salary)
5 high level artist (3d/texture/level design) @ $50,000/yr (maybe more like $40k, depending)
5 low level artists (3d/texture/level design) @ $40,000/yr (maybe more like $30k/yr)
1 manager @ $50,000/yr

That''s about $1.5M, and is a pretty small estimate of team size. Some teams could easily be twice as large. Never mind marketing, production, legal costs, licensed technology, etc.

If you are going indie, consider making something smaller in scope than the average "A" title, and just polish the hell out of it.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Hm - most of your points are very valid, but yeah, you''re going to want to bump those numbers up considerably.

Most ''A'' titles (especially in adventure/action/RPG) have much larger dev teams than that. Most ''A'' title development houses pay much more than that.

$0.02

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Guest Anonymous Poster
yeah it can vary wildly but I think a million is the lowest practical cost, most games taking a few million with some taking like ten. For example Myth II (second best RTS ever) took six people 18 months, that''s probably half a million. Starcraft (best RTS ever) took around 20 people for the core team, probably three million there plus they drew on company resources (their forty person cinematic team for example) so that would probably bring the cost close to ten million. So there is a wide range of possible budgets but all games tend to be costly and most don''t make a profit.

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Just so you know, I''m pretty sure Shenmue cost around $70 million, and I''m almost positive is well over $50. Of course Shenmue is probably the most realistic/interactive game ever produced and it was done by arcade legend Yu Suzuki under Sega''s budget so this isn''t really in comparison to what you are thinking of. I would think most PC games would be less than console games just because most PC games are less expansive, console games tend to have huge worlds where as quake 3 was just an engine slapped together with some maps and character models. Hope that helps,

~WarDekar

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