What is more profitable for game developers, PC or Consoles?

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#1 Posted by arkephonic (6239 posts) -

I've noticed how in this generation, console has been the lead platform for a lot more games. Even franchises that used to be PC exclusive or developed with PC as lead platform have converted to using consoles as lead platform. It seems like PCs take a back seat to consoles in the minds of almost all developers this generation. Is this because software sales are more profitable on consoles, therefore they try to appease console gamers more than the PC gamers?

#2 Posted by dercoo (12555 posts) -

Unless its an RTS, consoles.

Bigger starting price(60$), less pirates, and easier to market to audience.

#3 Posted by Yangire (8787 posts) -

Shouldn't even be a question, PC. Publishers get way more money off of download sales than retail.

#4 Posted by TheMoreYouOwn (3927 posts) -
Consoles, obviously. Confirmed by the devs themselves.
#5 Posted by lundy86_4 (42938 posts) -

It's dependant upon a whole plethora of variables. Certain devs will likely find better profits on different platforms.

#7 Posted by fsurb28 (1329 posts) -

consoles are cheaper, not everyone has money for a decent rig, then a couple months later a game comes out that you're interested in but find out you have to upgrade but you don't have the money, but to me it's simple - make a quality game that has multiplayer and boom there you go to profit

#8 Posted by Dr_Snood (2547 posts) -

consoles are cheaper, not everyone has money for a decent rig, then a couple months later a game comes out that you're interested in but find out you have to upgrade but you don't have the money, but to me it's simple - make a quality game that has multiplayer and boom there you go to profit

fsurb28
Well it's definitely completely false that you have to upgrade every couple of months to play a new PC game. That is unless you want to play everything at max settings and nothing below.
#9 Posted by gameofthering (10124 posts) -

Unless its an RTS, consoles.

Bigger starting price(60$), less pirates, and easier to market to audience.

dercoo

I think the extra costs for console games are so that they can pay royalties.

#10 Posted by SoSadLife (197 posts) -

Consoles, but ... techonology corporations are NEVER going to let PC gaming die. Besides, PC Gaming, not receiving many attentions WILL NEVER BE MOTION GAMING DOMINANT.

#11 Posted by Inconsistancy (8091 posts) -
Per sale, the profit margine is higher on PC, especially non-physical purchases. But the amount of Core gamers on consoles can often outweigh the cost that it takes to produce for them.
#12 Posted by lazzordude (6685 posts) -

Really depends:

Big budget game- probably doesn't matter all that much, although consoles might get slight edge

Mid budget game- I would imagine conosles

small budget/indy games- PC easily. No royalty fees and can publish the games themselves.

#13 Posted by AdrianWerner (27982 posts) -

For developers? PC, much lower costs of development and marketing, better deals with publishers, DD's popularity etc.

Consoles are more profitable for publishers though.

You can see the trend easily..for most devs that aren't owned by publishers PC is the lead platform, while those studios that are owned by big companies tend to focus on consoles.

#14 Posted by rollermint (364 posts) -

I've noticed how in this generation, console has been the lead platform for a lot more games. Even franchises that used to be PC exclusive or developed with PC as lead platform have converted to using consoles as lead platform. It seems like PCs take a back seat to consoles in the minds of almost all developers this generation. Is this because software sales are more profitable on consoles, therefore they try to appease console gamers more than the PC gamers?

arkephonic

1. Multiplatform is where the money's at and as multiplatform goes, the game will have to be designed to the least capable platforms ( PS3/X360). Even then, the PC version are more often than not the superior version in terms of graphic fidelity and at times, content (BF3).

2. Also depends on the dev studio. Indie devs generally do a lot better on the PC platform. Dev studios backed by publishers will usually cater to multiplatforming (in which, see point 1).

#15 Posted by fsurb28 (1329 posts) -

[QUOTE="fsurb28"]

consoles are cheaper, not everyone has money for a decent rig, then a couple months later a game comes out that you're interested in but find out you have to upgrade but you don't have the money, but to me it's simple - make a quality game that has multiplayer and boom there you go to profit

Dr_Snood

Well it's definitely completely false that you have to upgrade every couple of months to play a new PC game. That is unless you want to play everything at max settings and nothing below.

that's the way i feel, i mean why have a nice rig instead of a cheaper console if i don't have the dough to run it at max settings, it's like having a 200mph car when the speed limit is 65, what's the point

#16 Posted by rasengan2552 (4868 posts) -

well individually a console game going head to head with a PC game usually has the advantage in favor of the console in sales.

so if you were to combine the sales of both the 360 and PS3 compared to just PC then ...

360+PS3 sales > PC sales.

360+PS3 = more profit.

#17 Posted by TheEpicGoat (2006 posts) -

Consoles I would imagine, way more people use them for gaming over PC.

#18 Posted by Kinthalis (5304 posts) -

It depends on the game obviously, because there are a whole lot of variables that go into proft per unit sold.

On the consoles 99.99% of sales will be through retail. Retail has sunk in costs and ends up delivering a smaller profit per unit sold to the developer/publisher.

On the PC 30-50% of all sales are retail (depending on a number of factors), the rest are digital sales which typically return twice as much profit per unit sold than retail sales. And if the publisher itself is selling the game digitally (say valve) then that amount goes up to up to 4 times as much profit (depending on the sale price).

So, on average, a PC game sale equals higher profit than a console sale. Which means, that for the profits from console to surpass the profits from the PC it needs to sell anywhere from .5 to twice as much MORE than the PC version.

Thing is, that is true for many titles, but not for all.

Console fanboys think that every game on the consoles sells millions, but that is not true. Most games don't even break a million units. Only a handful of super heavy hitters with a TON of marketing get those numbers, and this is hwere we hit on the final variable: the cost of development and marketing.

On the PC the cost of development and marketing is fairly small. You can possibly sell millions without a single TV commercial, or even much advertising at all (Minecraft for example).

On the consoles you need to spend a LOT more in marketing and a bit more on development, all of which cuts into the profit of the title.

So let's take an example.

HALO REACH sold over 3 million copies in it's first month. On the PC Star Craft 2 sold about the same in it's first month.

On the consoles all sales were retail. On the PC about 1/2 of the sales were digital. So in terms of profit where Halo: Reach is 100%, Star craft II should have generated about 200% the amount of profit (remember that only blizzard sold the digitla version of SC II, so they were makign a good 3x the profit per sale). Of course not all territories payed the same price, so we can't be absolutely sure about this, but it should be somewhere around that type of discrepancy. And this is even BEFORE we take into account marketing and development budgets. Unfortunately we don't know how much each company spent. I'm guessing in this case it pretty much evened out. Blizzard spent more moeny in development, and MS spent more moeny in marketing.

On the other hand some games just sell a lot better on consoles. Fifa 12 is going to outsell the PC version 4 or 5 times over, so even with increased profit on the PC, it's just not going to compare. Of course the reason why it will sell so few units on the PC is that EA deliberately wants that. It deliberately gimps the PC version fo the game, and staggers release with the console version in Europe. Stupid, IMHO.

So for a title to make more money on the consoles, Xbox + PS3 sales have to be 50% to 100% larger than PC. A lot of games do this. But a lot of games don't. Bad Company 2, fro example, sold more units on the PC. Since aorund 1/2 of those were probably digital, that means Dice adbsolutley made considerable more money on PC than on the consoles.

#19 Posted by LordRork (2690 posts) -

In terms of raw numbers, the consoles. But per unit, the PC is a contender since the publishers don't have to pay any fees to MS or Sony. They can knock off £10 from the price and still be making a decent amount of money per unit sold.

#20 Posted by Kinthalis (5304 posts) -

In terms of raw numbers, the consoles. But per unit, the PC is a contender since the publishers don't have to pay any fees to MS or Sony. They can knock off £10 from the price and still be making a decent amount of money per unit sold.

LordRork

In fact double, to three times (if they make the sale through their own publisher digital distribution service like valve, now EA, and stardock).

#21 Posted by Hatiko (4508 posts) -

[QUOTE="Dr_Snood"][QUOTE="fsurb28"]

consoles are cheaper, not everyone has money for a decent rig, then a couple months later a game comes out that you're interested in but find out you have to upgrade but you don't have the money, but to me it's simple - make a quality game that has multiplayer and boom there you go to profit

fsurb28

Well it's definitely completely false that you have to upgrade every couple of months to play a new PC game. That is unless you want to play everything at max settings and nothing below.

that's the way i feel, i mean why have a nice rig instead of a cheaper console if i don't have the dough to run it at max settings, it's like having a 200mph car when the speed limit is 65, what's the point

Cause, you know, gaming is the ONLY thing you can do on a pc.

#22 Posted by Ly_the_Fairy (8652 posts) -
Depends on A LOT of things. Let's just say there wouldn't be console-exclusive/centric devs, or PC-exclusive/centric devs if one platform was 100% superior to the others in terms of sales and profit.
#23 Posted by glez13 (8662 posts) -

Developers: PC

Publishers: Consoles

#24 Posted by Game_On_ (103 posts) -

Pretty sure World of Warcraft is the most profitable game ever made. They rake in somewhere around 75 million a month from the U.S. alone.

#25 Posted by blue_hazy_basic (27362 posts) -

Unless its an RTS, consoles.

Bigger starting price(60$), less pirates, and easier to market to audience.

dercoo

The bigger starting price is because they have to pay MS & Sony licencing fees, how does that give them more money? :?

#26 Posted by Heil68 (43373 posts) -

Unless its an RTS, consoles.

Bigger starting price(60$), less pirates, and easier to market to audience.

dercoo
What about Blizzard with WoW? They bring in roughly 115 million dollars in revenue..per month, let me guess..they don't count?
#27 Posted by dercoo (12555 posts) -

[QUOTE="dercoo"]

Unless its an RTS, consoles.

Bigger starting price(60$), less pirates, and easier to market to audience.

Heil68

What about Blizzard with WoW? They bring in roughly 115 million dollars in revenue..per month, let me guess..they don't count?

Yeah, and wow is a great example of the average AAA (cost not rating) PC dev.

Its not like they are some high end extreme or anything:roll:

#28 Posted by KalDurenik (3768 posts) -
Both... aslong as you tailor the game for each version. Ok that is not what the topic was about. But PC larger share so the potential money is higher. If the game is good it will continue to sell for a very long time. If they have their own online store then they will all the money from sales and if they use steam for example they still make alot of money.
#30 Posted by Maddie_Larkin (6318 posts) -

Depends...

I think it goes something like this:

On consoles you will either get ALOT of money, or go bankrupt, there really is no middle ground it seems, the ability to be really profitible is low, but when it happens, youre set. If you do NOT manage to get one of those top 6 games of the year? you will lose a truckload of money.

On PC a dev will get far less of a profit, but usually it is not a ,do or die, kind of deal. So on pc a dev would not get a huge yield, but if a game is a bust, It will cost much less.

#31 Posted by Inconsistancy (8091 posts) -

Pretty sure World of Warcraft is the most profitable game ever made. They rake in somewhere around 75 million a month from the U.S. alone.

Game_On_

That's on subs, not sales. Not that it's relevant, someone already said, Dev = pc, Publisher = console, pretty much true.

#32 Posted by Game_On_ (103 posts) -

[QUOTE="Game_On_"]

Pretty sure World of Warcraft is the most profitable game ever made. They rake in somewhere around 75 million a month from the U.S. alone.

Inconsistancy

That's on subs, not sales.

Profitability isn't just about units sold. Even the coffee mugs and t-shirts they sell count as profitability.

#33 Posted by skrat_01 (33767 posts) -
Every developer isn't the same you know. That's a ridiculous generalization.
#34 Posted by Puckhog04 (22606 posts) -

Most games on PC sell 1+ million. Hell, the original Witcher as a new IP and fairly niche RPG sold over 1.5 million copies. Plus you don't have the royalty fees on PC that you do on the consoles. That and the PC market is the largest in the world and still the most played platform out there. So, PC, without a doubt. Now, for the CoD games and such, consoles. Console players eat the up seeing as they don't have much else.

#35 Posted by Inconsistancy (8091 posts) -

[QUOTE="Inconsistancy"][QUOTE="Game_On_"]

Pretty sure World of Warcraft is the most profitable game ever made. They rake in somewhere around 75 million a month from the U.S. alone.

Game_On_

That's on subs, not sales.

Profitability isn't just about units sold. Even the coffee mugs and t-shirts they sell count as profitability.

I edited, and you can't charge a subscription on most games anyway, I wouldn't use it in a comparison. I figured this topic was 'in general...' not 'in this specific case'
#36 Posted by Heil68 (43373 posts) -

[QUOTE="Heil68"][QUOTE="dercoo"]

Unless its an RTS, consoles.

Bigger starting price(60$), less pirates, and easier to market to audience.

dercoo

What about Blizzard with WoW? They bring in roughly 115 million dollars in revenue..per month, let me guess..they don't count?

Yeah, and wow is a great example of the average AAA (cost not rating) PC dev.

Its not like they are some high end extreme or anything:roll:

Same as saying RTS's is the only genre that makes more money on PC's was accurate, amirite? :roll:
#37 Posted by Game_On_ (103 posts) -

[QUOTE="Game_On_"]

[QUOTE="Inconsistancy"] That's on subs, not sales.Inconsistancy

Profitability isn't just about units sold. Even the coffee mugs and t-shirts they sell count as profitability.

I edited, and you can't charge a subscription on most games anyway, I wouldn't use it in a comparison. I figured this topic was 'in general...' not 'in this specific case'

Profitability is profitability. World of Warcraft set the precedent for MMOs as the most profitable business model in gaming. Since MMOs like World of Warcraft are mainly perpetuated by the PC market, that means the most profitable format in this discussion is PC gaming. I think it is pretty simple.

#38 Posted by lhughey (4222 posts) -
Profitability is profitability. World of Warcraft set the precedent for MMOs as the most profitable business model in gaming. Since MMOs like World of Warcraft are mainly perpetuated by the PC market, that means the most profitable format in this discussion is PC gaming. I think it is pretty simple.Game_On_
What kinda logic is that? LOL!!!! That like saying a Bugatti Veyron is the most expensive car in the world (its not really, but play along). Therefore, Bugatti makes more money than Honda.
#39 Posted by Game_On_ (103 posts) -

[QUOTE="Game_On_"]Profitability is profitability. World of Warcraft set the precedent for MMOs as the most profitable business model in gaming. Since MMOs like World of Warcraft are mainly perpetuated by the PC market, that means the most profitable format in this discussion is PC gaming. I think it is pretty simple.lhughey
What kinda logic is that? LOL!!!! That like saying a Bugatti Veyron is the most expensive car in the world (its not really, but play along). Therefore, Bugatti makes more money than Honda.

That's actually not what I said at all.

#40 Posted by MrJack3690 (2227 posts) -

[QUOTE="Dr_Snood"][QUOTE="fsurb28"]

consoles are cheaper, not everyone has money for a decent rig, then a couple months later a game comes out that you're interested in but find out you have to upgrade but you don't have the money, but to me it's simple - make a quality game that has multiplayer and boom there you go to profit

fsurb28

Well it's definitely completely false that you have to upgrade every couple of months to play a new PC game. That is unless you want to play everything at max settings and nothing below.

that's the way i feel, i mean why have a nice rig instead of a cheaper console if i don't have the dough to run it at max settings, it's like having a 200mph car when the speed limit is 65, what's the point

Um, because it doesn't take the Maximum settings to run at higher settings and better performance than consoles. Not only will you get better graphics, but you will have higher resolution and much better framerate, also, depending on the game you will have better controls. Not to mention the option to use either mouse and keyboard or a gamepad for pretty much any game.

#41 Posted by MacGyver2188 (102 posts) -

[QUOTE="Dr_Snood"][QUOTE="fsurb28"]

consoles are cheaper, not everyone has money for a decent rig, then a couple months later a game comes out that you're interested in but find out you have to upgrade but you don't have the money, but to me it's simple - make a quality game that has multiplayer and boom there you go to profit

fsurb28

Well it's definitely completely false that you have to upgrade every couple of months to play a new PC game. That is unless you want to play everything at max settings and nothing below.

that's the way i feel, i mean why have a nice rig instead of a cheaper console if i don't have the dough to run it at max settings, it's like having a 200mph car when the speed limit is 65, what's the point

......Not sure if serious I made my PC for 600-700 quid 3 years ago, still maxes everything
#42 Posted by Ginosaji (965 posts) -

PC's provide far higher profit per sale, featuring much lower development costs and digital distribution. With the right games, however, consoles can provide more sales in a short time frame, which for multiplat (X360+PS3) releases is sometimes enough to make up for the higher development costs

#43 Posted by turtlethetaffer (16664 posts) -

Pretty sure consoles since they are more mainstream.

#44 Posted by HaloinventedFPS (4713 posts) -

Depends

if its an RTS/MMO/Indie game, PC of course, if its Shooter/RPG/Sports, Console

also digital downloads of PC games make more profit than console games

#45 Posted by Moriarity_ (1349 posts) -
per unit pc easily gives devs/publishers the best profits. If we're talking overall profits it would depend on a number of other variables.
#46 Posted by Barbariser (6724 posts) -

Given that the title clearly specifies "developers" I would have to say that the PC is more profitable. This is understandable given that the PC, last I checked, is the platform of choice for either a plurality or majority of game developers.

#47 Posted by edinsftw (4225 posts) -

Per copy, its pc, in total consoles, but it varies per game for the total.

#48 Posted by foxhound_fox (87604 posts) -
PC. A PC game doesn't require a massive budget and millions of dollars of advertisements to do well. Not to mention the fact that putting a game on a DD service on PC costs about $1-2 per copy, while retail costs more than $40 per copy. On top of that, a developer doesn't need to deal with a publisher, meaning that all the money the game makes goes straight to them (rather than 10-15% of that $20 per copy).
#49 Posted by Heirren (16480 posts) -

Consoles. Period.

#50 Posted by foxhound_fox (87604 posts) -

Consoles. Period.

Heirren
Why? Because developers have to pay exorbitant licensing fees and make high-budget games just to break even?