What makes developing videogames so expensive?

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#1 Posted by IcyFlamez96 (1355 posts) -

Aside from paying the workers and licensing and stuff like that...

Yeah, I don't know anything about developing videogames so this probably sounds dumb, but I wondered about this for a while, and I thought like.... Once you have the tools, the engine and whatever else to make the game, wouldn't you just kind of craft it with the tools you have? Does all of the expense come from just developing the tools they make to create the game? I really don't know. I'm sure it's not that at all. I really don't understand anything about how this works as you can see.

#2 Posted by LegatoSkyheart (26338 posts) -

Time and Resources.

#3 Posted by MonsieurX (31657 posts) -
Takes a lot of time. And development teams are kinda big on games
#4 Posted by 04dcarraher (20557 posts) -

The main reason my production cost and went beyond double is because of the time frames placed by the big publishers requiring 2-3x the amount of production crew to create the assets of the games within the certain date. Time+assets=cost

#5 Posted by IcyFlamez96 (1355 posts) -

Well time is money I guess.

#6 Posted by Ballroompirate (23739 posts) -

Crunching those hours, plus if they start off with a new engine they have to spend mucho $$$ on the software.

#7 Posted by mariokart64fan (19690 posts) -

Well, it cost's them money to operate the building their working in ,

taxes from where ever they are , shipping costs cameras (for cutscene heavy games) for games like madden you need to pay nfl a fee to use thier stuff ,

it just keeps rising with every year because the cost of living goes up , and the employees gotta get paid , the third party endorsments also if applicable should be paid , (eg ford chevy) for the use of their product

thats what makes it so expensive not to mention the equipment cost if they break down

#8 Posted by BPoole96 (22814 posts) -
Many dev teams have nearly a hundred people, and some have even more. Paying those salaries for 2 years costs a lot of money. Then you have to set aside tons of money for marketing because none of the casuals will buying anything until they have seems dozens of commercials and ads TV and the Internet. Then there's all the review sites that they have to pay off to give it an 80+ score since some people won't buy a game unless it is above an 80 on meta critic.
#9 Posted by bobbetybob (19297 posts) -
Voice actors, time, marketing, licenses for software (which is expensive), time spent in motion capture studios (if applicable), any real world scouting, licensing for stuff, there's a lot of stuff.
#10 Posted by k2theswiss (16599 posts) -
video games are not like paint shop where you copy and paste....
#11 Posted by IcyFlamez96 (1355 posts) -
video games are not like paint shop where you copy and paste.... k2theswiss
My life is a lie.
#12 Posted by bobcheeseball (9307 posts) -
foilage
#13 Posted by Socijalisticka (1554 posts) -

They don't have to be. You can funnel all your resources on voice-acting, writing, marketing and still develop a game technically inferior to an indie game.

#14 Posted by trugs26 (5931 posts) -

I thought like.... Once you have the tools, the engine and whatever else to make the game, wouldn't you just kind of craft it with the tools you have? Does all of the expense come from just developing the tools they make to create the game?

IcyFlamez96



Yes and no. Some devs have an engine that is up to date so they'll need to do the crafting. At the same time though, the dev has to look into the future, because sooner or later their engine will go out of date. So they'll have to split their resources accordingly. The split will depend on how recent their engine is, whether or not their game is about to release so they're in crunch time, etc.

#15 Posted by ShadowsDemon (9481 posts) -
Quite literally everything about it is expensive...
#16 Posted by ArisShadows (22665 posts) -
Pop and Snacks..
#17 Posted by GD1551 (9645 posts) -

Advertising

#18 Posted by GD1551 (9645 posts) -

video games are not like paint shop where you copy and paste.... k2theswiss

Dragon Age 2 disagrees.

#19 Posted by Ly_the_Fairy (8541 posts) -

Because not only do dev teams pay for all the tech, voice actors, and whatever, but then they pay their team of 100 workers anywhere from $50,000-$100,000 a year to work on the game.

#20 Posted by seanmcloughlin (38219 posts) -

Have to pay all the people to work for so long, have to pay voice actors and people to make the music, then you have to pay an orchestra to actually play the music. There are lots of things people overlook that go into the costs

#21 Posted by HaloPimp978 (7329 posts) -

Marketing, paying the dev team and everything in between.

#22 Posted by wis3boi (31989 posts) -

Blowing away money on CGI trailers, advertising, product deals (like Halo Mt. Dew and Doritos), and 5-star actor voiceovers. Meanwhile games like Witcher 2 and Sins of a solar Empire are mad eudner 10mil bucks and thrive. SWToR at $300mil and being iffy. Money =/= quality

#23 Posted by BPoole96 (22814 posts) -

Blowing away money on CGI trailers, advertising, product deals (like Halo Mt. Dew and Doritos), and 5-star actor voiceovers. Meanwhile games like Witcher 2 and Sins of a solar Empire are mad eudner 10mil bucks and thrive. SWToR at $300mil and being iffy. Money =/= quality

wis3boi

Do products deals cost them much money though? Both companies benefit from it. Halo gets marketing in grocery stores and 7-11s across the world, Mt. Dew and Doritos have marketing tools buying their products in droves to get extra XP. Both companies make money off the deal

#24 Posted by Rockman999 (7232 posts) -

I'd say production values and advertisement are the big money hogs in development.

#25 Posted by XaosII (16699 posts) -

Salaries, rent, and time.

A medium-ish development team is around 50 people. An average development time is about 3 years. Assuming each developer gets paid an average of about $40,000 a year.

50 people's salaries x $40,000 = 2 Millions dollars.

2 Million x 3 years = 6 million dollars.

Rent space for about 50 people could easily be around $300,000 per year. So that'll likely add another million.

Marketing and advertisements usually doubles costs. Or rather, most publishres devote about %50 of the total development budget to marketing and ads.

Paying employees is very, very expensive.

#26 Posted by Lulekani (2151 posts) -
Its a very ineffecient business, so much crap doesnt make the final cut. Like the hot shower scenes in Resident Evil 5 and 6
#27 Posted by a55a55inx (4188 posts) -
A lot of the money is spent on the costs of the employees. An average annual salary for animators/modelers/texture artists etc can range from $70,000-$90,000, and for programmers it can average about $90,000-$110,000. So imagine paying 50-100 employees every year. Marketing can take a huge chunk of that cash also, especially when it's marketed like Halo 4 was, with their "Forward Unto Dawn" episode series; which probably cost about $5-$20 million (not sure how much they spent).
#28 Posted by GunSmith1_basic (9889 posts) -
it's because gaming has only increased the amount of detail and content over time. The cost of producing games has gone up, which has raised the price of games, which has promoted piracy which has made the situation worse. Game studios are collapsing more than ever today. I think the ps2 gen was a golden age of profitability and game quality.
#29 Posted by a55a55inx (4188 posts) -

Salaries, rent, and time.

A medium-ish development team is around 50 people. An average development time is about 3 years. Assuming each developer gets paid an average of about $40,000 a year.

50 people's salaries x $40,000 = 2 Millions dollars.

2 Million x 3 years = 6 million dollars.

Rent space for about 50 people could easily be around $300,000 per year. So that'll likely add another million.

Marketing and advertisements usually doubles costs. Or rather, most publishres devote about %50 of the total development budget to marketing and ads.

Paying employees is very, very expensive.

XaosII
For an artist (modeler/animator/texture artist) at a large company, the average salary is about $80,000. An entry level artist usually get's $50,000-$60,000, and those who have 3-4 years of experience usually get's $70-90,000 etc... and for programmers, you can increase that by $10,000-$20,000 per year.
#30 Posted by Masenkoe (4888 posts) -

foilagebobcheeseball

#31 Posted by Epak_ (7023 posts) -

foilagebobcheeseball

They have speed tree for that, well those have who have paid the license to use it :P As many have said already, it takes a ****load of time.

#32 Posted by ShadowsDemon (9481 posts) -

[QUOTE="wis3boi"]

Blowing away money on CGI trailers, advertising, product deals (like Halo Mt. Dew and Doritos), and 5-star actor voiceovers. Meanwhile games like Witcher 2 and Sins of a solar Empire are mad eudner 10mil bucks and thrive. SWToR at $300mil and being iffy. Money =/= quality

BPoole96

Do products deals cost them much money though? Both companies benefit from it. Halo gets marketing in grocery stores and 7-11s across the world, Mt. Dew and Doritos have marketing tools buying their products in droves to get extra XP. Both companies make money off the deal

I think TW2 didn't cost that much to make, but damn is that game freaking awesome.
#33 Posted by humpmasterflex (363 posts) -

What makes developing videogames so expensive?

one word: consoles

Yes, consoles makes games way too expensive to produce. For example, u have a bad hallway shooter like killzone cost like 40 million to develop, or something so linear as gow3 60 million to develop. While u have pc devs such as CDprojekt make arguably the best and most mature rpg experience in the last decade for around 15 million... a game with 16 endings that is none linear unlike GOW3, so they already hit profits by hitting 500k units sold.

While a game like Kingdoms of amalur sold over a million and still didnt hit profits.

#34 Posted by Nintendo_Ownes7 (30917 posts) -

Voice actors, time, marketing, licenses for software (which is expensive), time spent in motion capture studios (if applicable), any real world scouting, licensing for stuff, there's a lot of stuff. bobbetybob
Also it includes staff pay, costs of computers, cost of software, pay of testers, cost of electricity and other utilities. Those all factor into the the cost of a video game.

#35 Posted by RapidTurtle (342 posts) -
Beat a game and watch the credits at the end. There are a lot of people working on these games.
#36 Posted by skrat_01 (33767 posts) -

Time and Resources.

LegatoSkyheart
Bingo. Art production and programming alone costs a fortune in triple A development.
#37 Posted by a55a55inx (4188 posts) -

What makes developing videogames so expensive?

one word: consoles

Yes, consoles makes games way too expensive to produce. For example, u have a bad hallway shooter like killzone cost like 40 million to develop, or something so linear as gow3 60 million to develop. While u have pc devs such as CDprojekt make arguably the best and most mature rpg experience in the last decade for around 15 million... a game with 16 endings that is none linear unlike GOW3, so they already hit profits by hitting 500k units sold.

While a game like Kingdoms of amalur sold over a million and still didnt hit profits.

humpmasterflex
???
#38 Posted by KungfuKitten (21403 posts) -

Calculate the salaries + office costs. Most can disappear right there. But for multimillion games often you have 50% marketing costs and other crazy expenses like the legal department involved and license costs.

#39 Posted by DeX2010 (3991 posts) -
First up, assuming you don't have the software, professional animation/model creation software costs thousands of dollars, and these need to be bought for all animators/artists in the studio. Once this is done, they need to create high-res models and this takes a lot of time. It would take me very long time just to create one high resoltion character asset such as the main character in a game. They need voice actors, researchers, script writers, game testers. Basically make a game is a huge undertaking, which is why the cost is so much, and when the technology gets more powerful at the beginning of the gen or new tech paradigms are introduced more time and resources need to be spent figuring out problems and how to use these new technologies. Which is why the price of games increases at the beginning of a gen.
#40 Posted by LustForSoul (5910 posts) -
Like people are saying, there's more than just computers.
#41 Posted by nutcrackr (12846 posts) -
cut scenes take a lot of time to make :/