E3 06: THQ: Wii dev costs fraction of PS3's, 360's

Publisher talks cost and ease of development for Nintendo's next-generation system.

THQ gave its quarterly earnings report today, and the analysts' conference call that followed saw the publisher detail some of its plans going forward. On multiple occasions in the course of the call, THQ president and CEO Brian Farrell spoke about developing for the Nintendo Wii, touching on a number of topics including THQ's first reactions to its Wii games.

"We showed in a press event recently a SpongeBob game using the Nintendo Wii and Wii controller," Farrell said, "and standing there watching very jaded game journalists hoot and holler on a SpongeBob game was actually quite relieving. One of the things we like about that platform is the development costs...on the Wii are nowhere near what they are on the PS3 and Xbox 360. That's something that's quite encouraging. As you probably know, our portfolio maps very, very well to what we think the Wii demographic is going to be."

Currently the publisher has announced Wii games based on the Nickelodeon shows SpongeBob SquarePants and Avatar: The Last Airbender, as well as one for Pixar Animation Studios' upcoming film Cars.

Farrell also talked about developing for the Wii as opposed to the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3, noting that it was far less expensive making games for Nintendo's console. Farrell prefaced his comments by noting that he wasn't "a development professional," but he said the development environment for the Wii was similar to the GameCube's.

"[The Wii] wasn't a whole new programming environment," Farrell said. "So we had a lot of tools and tech that work in that environment. So those costs--and again, I hate these broad generalizations--but they could be as little as a third of the high-end next-gen titles... Maybe the range is a quarter to a half."

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Discussion

235 comments
gigabrowser12
gigabrowser12

Ok.... Legend of zelda twilight princess, IN DEVELOPMENT FOR 4 YEARS!!!!! They just ported the controls...

Dimension_X
Dimension_X

To say the launch titles are baby games, whoever said that should bite their tounge. I would love you to hand a baby a wii controller, DUH! You're not going to. Wii is being packed with Wii sports, which will get us all up and moving around: from playing racket ball, to baseballt and golf. These should be exciting games to show off The Wii's remote functionality. I think Nintendo is the smartest of the 3 (Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft) making a console completely revolutionary, not jsut tacking a "3" after playstation or making a "360". Wii is by no means a Gamecube 2. Keeping production costs low and costs to developers is going to be a key to winning and I think Nintendo will come out on top...if not they will sure give sony a run for their money (Im not too worried about Xbox360).

sodafountan
sodafountan

I love nintendo and i really hope they know what there doing i mean they already screwed up by calling it wii know i hear that 3 launch games are gonna be baby games cmmon nintendo

The_Fat_Zebra
The_Fat_Zebra

But if the technology is very similar, than what is so new about the Wii? How is the controller so advanced then?

foofightersrule
foofightersrule

It costs less because the system is less, this system is going to be a huge mistake for nintendo. I'm just hoping they don't turn into the next sega.

DemonJD138
DemonJD138

I'm really stoked about the new Smackdown vs. Raw for PS3, but I want to rassle with my Wii! (Man, the sophomoric humour never stops with this thing.) THQ is talking Spongebob for Wii, but I want to see some WWE on WII.

Carlitonsp
Carlitonsp

I always knew the Wii was going to be cheap, but I doubt it will suck, if they spend enough time designing the games, then it will be a good system.

Fiku42
Fiku42

this will probaly help devolopers focus less on graphics and more on gameplay, storline and that stuff........but pls no crappy games

0diablo0
0diablo0

i still think the ps3 will triumph over the wii and 360 but hey nintendo has never released a cheap product before have they??? (game boy micro.......) This is not fanboyism this is ihatenintendoism.

meimnobody
meimnobody

I wonder when gamespot will mention the recent time magazine article where Warioware Wii is confirmed.

The_Magical_Man
The_Magical_Man

Yeah, like i want to buy a nintento Wii now that developers like THQ think crap like spongebob are perfect for the system.

togo2828
togo2828

cheap games from Nintendo yay more reasons to buy the Wii and has everyone realize we call the Wii by it name and not buy the Revolution any longer

Willy105
Willy105

We showed in a press event recently a SpongeBob game using the Nintendo Wii and Wii controller," Farrell said, "and standing there watching very jaded game journalists hoot and holler on a SpongeBob game was actually quite relieving. One of the things we like about that platform is the development costs...on the Wii are nowhere near what they are on the PS3 and Xbox 360. That's something that's quite encouraging. As you probably know, our portfolio maps very, very well to what we think the Wii demographic is going to be." Owneage.

vwgti3
vwgti3

This is old new if you went on ign

IkilluRdead
IkilluRdead

Well it is good becasue Nintendo can sell more of these puppys to gamers like us.

FuriousDolphin
FuriousDolphin

That's a good thing. Now Nintendo only has to show a good line-up of launch titles and I'm all set to get a Wii !!

meimnobody
meimnobody

Those blockbuster games that cost 15 million dollars to develop for on the PS2 and Xbox will cost 30 million at least for the PS3, Xbox 360. With the result of course you cannot tell the difference between the 30 million and 15 million dollar game in terms of graphics, play style. That hd drives up costs so much a lot of devs in a year or two will swear off HD this gen. After all why spend twice or more to make something when you make it for half and no one can tell the difference in visual quality. No real advances in AI for the 360 or PS3 over current consoles. Blu-ray a real waste how many games are on two dvds? Quite frankly the supposed next-gen graphics aren't going to be really any better then what we have now. Only a few games where the developers work their butt off will look fantastic. The wii will certaintly have an advantage when it comes to graphics due to developers being able to max it out at the start then in four years. Also Nintendo knows how to develop tricks to get things out of the hardware that others would call impossible. Shoving a cds worth of FMV into a 64mb cart? Nintendo did it on the N64 on several games.

Flimsyfishy
Flimsyfishy

does anyone in here know how much it takes to make your blockbuster games??? it takes about 15 million dollars. you gotta throw in that the technology for the ps3 and the x-box 360 are using 2 new systems. the blu-ray, and the hd dvd. The wii to my knowledge will still have the old dvd disks they have around now. Don't use this to say that nintendo is cheap. besides, all of you people say graphics matter. well the system with the weakest specs won last gen's battle (ps2). the high costs of development will actually make the prices higher on games as well (why x-box 360 games are at 59.99)

obi_rau
obi_rau

I hope the wii and it's games will be cheaper that the others next gen ones

new_orion
new_orion

just waiting how good those games are against PS3's... ******what happened to Viva la revolution... Wii??? I still don't get it...

samekila
samekila

Did you forget that there are kids on earth that play games I know I did every system has kid games why do's that bother older gamers. I have kids and trust me I love adult games but my kids have to have something besides GTA or war games to play. God people you act like there forcing you to play them. I do think adult gamers should have more adult experience in games because were not all kids and more adult titles on the Wii would be great

crazy_boy166
crazy_boy166

Hahahaha if they think there gonna make $ with a game like spongebob square pant well there getting into a big hole

NightRain
NightRain

Excellent. Hoping many publishers will be willing to create games for the Wii.

jimbo102671
jimbo102671

The Wii is the cheapest system to make and to develop for because the big N does not have the deep pockets that Sony and MS have to make a butt-kicking system (despite their consistent run of profits). Also, this same lack of deep pockets won't net Nintendo any significant third-party exclusives. Because of this, they need to look for another way to attract them. What gets to me more than anything is that a recognizable publisher like THQ has apparently branded the Wii as a child's system. If other publishers see it this way as well, the system may be doomed from day one. I'm looking forward to the Wii myself and am praying that THQ's statement was blown out of proportion.

Omega-Ing
Omega-Ing

cheezlarson, you dont even know what you are talking about. First the specs that have appeared from IGN werent even the final ones :|, and it still more powerful than GCN, so itll be able to pull graphics better than metroid prime, Resident evil 4 and zelda TP. And there are already many companies making great games for Wii, and also exclusives. And sure Wii may have its kiddy games, but by the looks of it its getting some great games with lots of action, and there are tons of games still not announced, but you're the type that has to see to believe. and they MAY not get RE5, but there is a line up of mature games, example red steel, sadness, etc.

hazuki
hazuki

Well of course thq would use less on the wii. As thqs current generation games suck- so since the wii isnt really more powerful, it costs just alittle more.

kevo14
kevo14

Well i think its good news but the games better be freakin GOOD!

meimnobody
meimnobody

Hehe people once again believe the megahertz myth. People the gamecube had the least megahertz on specs yet performed close to what the xbox did and even did graphical abilities the xbox was incapable of doing so. Multicores? Garbage no multicore game is better then the single core version. In fact they are often worse. HD? 99% of people when shown a HD game on a HDtv and on a SDTV cannot tell the difference and quite a few will say the game looks worse on the HDTV. A game made completly for a SD tv and a game made completly for a HDTV when shown on their respective tvs to 99% people those people will say the SD tv game looks better. If you ever work in a retail store that has HDTVs and SDTVS on display most people will swear the SDTV on display is an HDTV or swear it looks the best out of all the tvs. HDTV takes fifty percent more resources to render a game then in SDTV. Meaning your xbox 360 is 50% wasted to render in HDTV. When people think a gamecube game looks better then every 360 game that has come out you know that specs don't matter and HDTV is a waste. Reason why the Wii costs less to develop for is because Nintendo knows how to get the most out of their hardware and tools. Resident Evil 5? Guess what the Resident Evil people say they will make a wii exclusive version that cannot be ported to other consoles. The Wii exclusives will remain exclusives because guess what developers said they cannot port the games to the other consoles. funny how if the wii is underpowered it can easily take ports from other consoles yet it's games built for it cannot be ported to other consoles. Nintendo has several patents that if they bear out what is implied will make the 360 and PS3 look utterly pathetic when compared to the Wii. Nintendo dev kits to the third parties are only 95% at max until June. And the ones stating they were blown away by the graphics when compared to the 360 games they were developing only had modified gamecubes with wii controllers on them. A modified gamecube beat out the 360 in terms of graphics. And developers are now stating that the PS3 graphics and 360 graphics when shown side by side you cannot tell them apart. Amazing how the supposed ultrapowerfull PS3 isn't any more powerfull then the xbox 1.5 aka 360. Microsoft rule this gen? Only if they pay out 30 billion dollars and go bankrupt. They already lost 12 billion so far.

nuttysack
nuttysack

I'm getting a 360 but I'm watching the Wii very close, give alot of credit to Nintendo they are trying to do something different and so far I believe it is going to work. If it does end up being cheap and the games/controller kicks butt I'll get one=)

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

This isn't surprising really. With the Wii being no where near as powerful as the 360 and the PS3, I would hope it would be cheaper to develop for. Sheesh!

DrKill09
DrKill09

Wii dev costs less cause the console is not powerful. I bet it's only slightly more powerful than the original XBox. Microsoft have won this gen already

cheezlarson
cheezlarson

boyblob "i don't want it on my Xbox 360" LoL bloodmist, come on. whatever game kojima develops for wii will be totally outshined after he finishes mgs4.

cheezlarson
cheezlarson

Do you know why development costs are so cheap? Its because Nintendo put a half-a$$ job into it. It has tech specs worse than the original xbox. This way developers won't put as much detail and effort into making a visually pleasing game or as one that is fun to play because if they screw up a wii game its only a little money. Because xbox 360 and ps3 cost so much to develop for companies will put the time and the effort to make a well selling game. So what if more third party developers make games for the wii they will all be little kid games because capcom is making resident evil 5 for xbox 360 and ps3. So nintendo's only good mature rated game won't join them for the next-gen console wars. PS: Wii is a stupid name; there is a difference between being creative and being a complete and utter retard.

royalda
royalda

Yeah! Now I can play more of those crappy age 5-10 games!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BloodMist
BloodMist

I just wanna see that Kojima game.KOJIMA!

boyblob
boyblob

Oh? THQ perhapos the worst publisher of all time is going to be making crappy games for the Revolution. I hope they keep it there cause i don't want it on my Xbox 360. i don't think anyone here thinks THQ is interested in making a quality Sponge Bob game. They will have the liscence and that is enough for 6 year olds to get it.

elementfx
elementfx

Sounding good for me, I love saving my money.

tonemd_basic
tonemd_basic

The same companies that make crap games now will still make crap games on the Wii. Hopefully they just won't bother to port them to the PS3 or 360. The question is, will top tier companies make the next entry to their hit franchises for the Wii? Or, if they decide to put only new properties on the system, will the dev teams for those game get a lot of financial backing? Just because its cheaper, doesn't mean it's cheap. A game that doesn't sell is still a loss.

doomed51
doomed51

nice! i might end up buying the WIii first ( i wish they kept it Revolution!)

wokisan
wokisan

Not sure what you're talking about as far as s-video goes. You can find those cables for the N64 anywhere. Actually I think it was a mistake to scrap the digital output on the GC. Personally I can see a clear difference between the AV cables to the s-video to component on the GC. I think it's a shame that you can no longer send them off to Nintendo to have the component output installed in the non-digital versions. Perhaps it is my PC background but gaming in HD even in its 2nd stage (360, PS3) is well worth it...to me. It makes for a more enjoyable gaming experience and can add to the realism of whatever game I'm playing. But by now we have veered WAY of course from the original content of this article. The bottom line is Nintendo will continue to do what works for them and will probably make alot of money doing so.

Game-o_O
Game-o_O

Sorry, I like quality ($400 console) over quanity (old tech, cheap price, kiddish games). Mario Party.. 666?; And another mario game, ;/

sabru8
sabru8

you knew it would.

meimnobody
meimnobody

They even released a second NES model that loaded from the top you know? It didn't have the AV outputs like the first did. The SNES 2 didn't output S-video. They removed it from that model.