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The Almighty Buck Games

EA Says Game Development Budgets Have Peaked 157

Gamasutra reports on comments from Electronic Arts VP David Demartini indicating that the company thinks AAA game development budgets are not going to continue their skyward trend. "If [a developer] happens to make a lot of money based on that budget, great for them. If they come up short and have to cover some of it — y'know, they'll be smarter the next time they do it. That's kind of the approach that we take to it." Certainly this has something to do with a few major economic flops in the games industry lately, such as the cancellation of This Is Vegas after an estimated $50 million had been dumped into the project. Another example is the anemic response to APB, an MMO with a budget rumored to be as high as $100 million. Poor sales and reviews caused developer Realtime Worlds to enter insolvency and lay off a large portion of the development team.
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EA Says Game Development Budgets Have Peaked

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  • Re:Bout time... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Trepidity ( 597 ) <delirium-slashdot.hackish@org> on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @02:10AM (#33365918)

    Unfortunately this does seem to be the case in the market the AAA companies are going for. It's getting a little less true overall, though. An "MMO" with hilariously ancient voxel graphics [minecraft.net] made by one guy has racked up about $1m in sales, because the super-simple, low-overhead, and low-programmer-hassle graphics free him up to do interesting things with the gameplay.

    These do seem to be "alternative" games, though--- I can't imagine the mainstream game-review mags giving such a game a glowing review.

  • Re:Bout time... (Score:3, Informative)

    by rdwulfe ( 890032 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @02:11AM (#33365922)

    Actually, reality seems to state otherwise, time and again, when people make statements like this.

    While it is not a requirement to pay for a game such as, for example, Dwarf Fortress, it seems that people will quite gladly donate enough money to keep it going, and allow the developer of said game to live entirely off of those donations. In effect, they are paying for that game. Some of them are even paying more for that game than they would be for any other game except for an MMO.

    There is also the fact that people will pay for games with "less than brilliant graphics", since people pay for games like World of Goo to name one example. By far, it did not have state of the art graphics.

    The world of who is out there willing to pay for what is far more grey than black and white. People look for different things when they decide to spend money on a game. The hardcore, "OMG, must haz rendered pores!" gamers are only a small segment of the market. Game studios seem to enjoy forgetting that fact.

  • Re:Bout time... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Shikaku ( 1129753 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @02:23AM (#33365994)

    http://www.minecraft.net/ [minecraft.net]

    74290 purchases.


  • Re:Bout time... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ford Prefect ( 8777 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @02:30AM (#33366022) Homepage

    Extremely fun games, raving reviews, appallingly bad graphics.

    Erm... I bought my delightfully GREEN boxed copy of Darwinia partly because it had wonderful visuals (and audio). It's got great graphics. Most definitely not photorealistic, but for some reason 'photorealism' is the only thing that equates to 'good graphics' in many people's minds.

    World of Goo? Lovely smooth bouncily awesome. Machinarium? Gorgeous hand-drawn beauty. And so on.

  • Re:Bout time... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Zediker ( 885207 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @07:18AM (#33367114)
    case in point: ps2 beat the ever living snot out of the xobx and the gamecube, despite being the weaker system of the three. wii, has beaten the ever living snot out of the ps3 and xbox360, again, being the weaker system. Graphics have never won over the gaming audience as a whole, the hardcore segment yes, but never the entire segment, and wii just makes it worse as its filled with the most crap games and worst looking games.

    counterpoint: ps2 had the best games of all the systems (you could even say better than alot of today's games, play wise), wii had the most clueless purchasers.
  • Re:Bout time... (Score:3, Informative)

    by devent ( 1627873 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @11:55AM (#33369852) Homepage
    I didn't know, because I turned JavaScript off by default. NoScript plugin for Firefox.
  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2010 @01:51PM (#33371632)

    The state of the art I've seen is Yamaha's Vocaloid. However it only really can handle singing (for various reasons that's easier than speaking) and it still isn't great. Also it takes a lot of programming (in the MIDI sense, not the C++ sense) to make it sound right. Well that means having a skilled individual spend a lot of time which costs money and so on.

Loose bits sink chips.