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I_Smell_Tuna

Budgets

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Does anybody know the "average" (if there is such a thing) budget of the big name game 3D games that are currently coming out to the market?

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You could do you some pretty crude maths to work out a figure:

Lets assume the average wage is $40'000 to account for the people who get way too much for their job, and game testers, who get relatively little..

60 people working on a title:

60 * 40'000 per annum = 2.4 million USD (0.00483 million CAD)

Title takes, say, 3 years to complete, that's 7.2 million USD (0.01449 million CAD)

ofc this is a total guesstimation :)

or you could just look here for some figures($10M USD)

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Original post by Zanthos
You could do you some pretty crude maths to work out a figure:

Lets assume the average wage is $40'000 to account for the people who get way too much for their job, and game testers, who get relatively little..

60 people working on a title:

60 * 40'000 per annum = 2.4 million USD (0.00483 million CAD)

Title takes, say, 3 years to complete, that's 7.2 million USD (0.01449 million CAD)

ofc this is a total guesstimation :)

or you could just look here for some figures($10M USD)


I'm not in the game industry but I am in the software industry. When they say 3 years to complete a game, I find it hard to believe that 60 people were working on it for 3 years. The handful of people who spent a 6mo to a year prototyping/whiteboarding; does that count against the 3 year estimate? I'd imagine any studio that employs '60' people is working on more then one title simultaneously. A large portion of those are marketing, managers, testers, that are dealing with multiple projects. But there are a lot of expenses on top of just salaries, even though salaries make up the bulk.

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There are also licensing fees for media, and there is of course facilities!

Computers, power, rent, internet, coffee, drinks, etc...,etc... Although these would likely not apply significantly to indie groups...

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Original post by BobV
I'm not in the game industry but I am in the software industry. When they say 3 years to complete a game, I find it hard to believe that 60 people were working on it for 3 years. The handful of people who spent a 6mo to a year prototyping/whiteboarding; does that count against the 3 year estimate? I'd imagine any studio that employs '60' people is working on more then one title simultaneously. A large portion of those are marketing, managers, testers, that are dealing with multiple projects. But there are a lot of expenses on top of just salaries, even though salaries make up the bulk.


Quote:
Original post by superdeveloper
There are also licensing fees for media, and there is of course facilities!

Computers, power, rent, internet, coffee, drinks, etc...,etc... Although these would likely not apply significantly to indie groups...


I was only guessing at how much development costs, not a fiscal report [smile]. I assumed that things like engine licensing, water fountain and vending machine refills are pretty much petty-cash, and insignificant when compared to the salaries.

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Original post by BobV
Quote:
Original post by Zanthos
You could do you some pretty crude maths to work out a figure:

Lets assume the average wage is $40'000 to account for the people who get way too much for their job, and game testers, who get relatively little..

60 people working on a title:

60 * 40'000 per annum = 2.4 million USD (0.00483 million CAD)

Title takes, say, 3 years to complete, that's 7.2 million USD (0.01449 million CAD)

ofc this is a total guesstimation :)

or you could just look here for some figures($10M USD)


I'm not in the game industry but I am in the software industry. When they say 3 years to complete a game, I find it hard to believe that 60 people were working on it for 3 years. The handful of people who spent a 6mo to a year prototyping/whiteboarding; does that count against the 3 year estimate? I'd imagine any studio that employs '60' people is working on more then one title simultaneously. A large portion of those are marketing, managers, testers, that are dealing with multiple projects. But there are a lot of expenses on top of just salaries, even though salaries make up the bulk.


You are right in that not everyone is working on the game at once, however it's not quite like the rest of the software industry. The planning stages are not nearly as pronounced (though the game industry is starting to come around to formal software engineering practices) and so you end up with a lot more people coming in sooner. While 60 people may sound like a lot already, many projects can easily jump to twice that when production is really ramped up (as time goes by it just gets bigger and bigger, back in 1996 when Age of Empires hit over 100 people on the project itself it was a big thing). In general an AAA game is likely to have anywhere from 25-50 permanent staff (not including the business side), and as many as 100 or more contracters (mainly related to asset creation) brought in during the course of the project. Of course not every game is AAA, so games that produced by fewer then a dozen people still exist.

In general a AAA title ("big name 3D game") is going to cost in the millions of dollars to produce - for example a regular XBox/PS2/GC game costs between $5 and $12 million dollars, and it's expected to increase to $15-20 million for the 3rd generation 3D consoles (XBox2/PS3/Rev). The super titles cost much more (while I don't know about X, Final Fantasy IX [PS1] cost over $40 million) and I'm pretty sure some have broken the $100 million dollar mark already.

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Yep, triple A games are are around $10mil now. Of course, sequals are cheaper because they can reuse some of the art or even the same engine. I'm pretty sure FF7-9 used the same engine, just updated every release. Development rise is going to rise with the nextgen consoles, and the only way to balance the costs is to raise the price of games to $60...

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Quote:
Original post by Zanthos
I was only guessing at how much development costs, not a fiscal report [smile]. I assumed that things like engine licensing, water fountain and vending machine refills are pretty much petty-cash, and insignificant when compared to the salaries.


Actually not. The overhead (those expences besides salaries) for running a business is roughly equal what the salaries for all your employees. When you consider that you have to pay rent, electricity, software, insurance, accounting, payroll, furniture, lawyers, new computers, phones, networking, office supplies, etc., etc., things build up quickly.

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I'm not intimately familiar with budgets for AAA FPS/RTS/classic/indie games, but i am well versed on MMOs. MMOs are the most complex and most expensive games to make. Current MMO budgets for AAA titles are north of $20. I know someone who was working on mythica at microsoft, and he said their budget was $25 million. Jessica Mulligan who worked on AO, UO, and AC recently said MMO budgets are approaching $30 million.

One would expect an FPS or RTS to cost less than an MMO. You can really use the MMO numbers as an upper bound for AAA game development costs.

PD

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Quote:
Original post by I_Smell_Tuna
Does anybody know the "average" (if there is such a thing) budget of the big name game 3D games that are currently coming out to the market?


A typical AAA title is around $10-20 million

A major MMORPG (like WOW) is around $50 million.

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