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Next-gen game development costs will stay the same...for now
Next-gen game development costs will stay the same...for now
June 11, 2013 | By Patrick Miller

June 11, 2013 | By Patrick Miller
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"In the first two years, I expect [next-generation dev] costs to remain the same."
--Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot in an interview at E3.

During a pre-E3 press event in Los Angeles on Sunday, Guillemot explained how he saw development costs increasing for the upcoming generation of consoles. Later, he said that the current console climate necessitated higher marketing spending as well, because certain consumer segments were "harder to reach" than they were in the beginning of the console cycle, requiring more TV advertising buys.

"In the first two years, I expect [next-generation dev] costs to remain the same," Guillemot explained, "because we will have the advantage of having better machines, so won't have to compress as much data.

"But, quickly, in two years, we'll have to spend more money to take advantage of all the possibilities these machines are bringing, and it can grow quite fast. But I think what's interesting is that we'll be able to create data that we will be able to reuse in other places, because we're getting closer and closer to what you can see in movies and TV series now."

Developers: What do you think? Do Guillemot's predictions match your own estimations for next-gen dev costs? Do you think you'll be able to take advantage of reusable tech and assets more than you could with the current generation? Let us know in the comments!


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Comments


Kujel s
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Unless ubisoft and alike can create compelling gameplay the market will continue to contract, new machines wont fix the issue with stale gameplay that has barely changed since the second half of this gen. Development costs will rise without a doubt and in my opinion they will rise higher then the market can support.

Merc Hoffner
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Fortunately Watch Dogs shows that Ubisoft at least still has a few smart cookies, and can extract some new concepts from the old noodle.

Kujel s
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Actually Ubisoft is the only third-party publisher I think has any hope of surviving the contraction but that's just cuase they have several games with good gameplay and they support Nintendo more then the others.

Yong Wu
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I don't quite understand that because you can throw more money into something why not type of thinking. They might be able to push the limits of the hardware by making the development cost more but that doesn't mean a better product. To me that's throwing more money into something just because you can, PCs are used for gaming and hardware capabilities for it improve all the time but I don't see the development growing exponentially nor all the time. I guess what I'm trying to say is, is there really a need to push hardware to the limits to make a game fun or worth playing? If it isn't then why aim for that? Shouldn't we be aiming to constantly be making the most fun/interactive/stimulating games possible?

Michael Brodeur
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Well put. +1

Robb Lewis
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@Yong Wu - agree that in the end it's all about the gameplay/emotional experience. But if there are features / data available in the console to enable a better experience then the pubs should look to take advantage of them don't you think? Not all of the features may make sense for all games so they shouldn't try to add everything, only those that add/enhance the experience.

Yong Wu
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@Robb I completely agree, certain features that might have not been used before could start being used and that could cause for an increase in development costs. The problem however I don't feel those things are normally the items that cause the most increase in development costs. Given I don't have any concrete sources to pull that could be used as factual evidence. However if all those cases for increased development costs did go towards features that enhanced experience, the experiences in games would be imo much higher in general.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's great when the $$$ actually goes to work on a feature that will improve the experience of the game. However companies should analyze more if that actual improvement is cost effective. (Warning car example:) IE: When you buy a car, all the extra whistles/addons improve your experience while using the car but it does not mean that you should always buy them all.

Jane Castle
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Cost will increase as developers concentrate on dynamic hair simulation engines and procedurally tessellated tear drop generators. All the while ignoring what really counts: Good and engaging game play.

I see more developers going bankrupt in the next cycle, and of course blaming the soaring development costs needed to "compete".

When in reality the reason has more to do with concentrating development too much on eye candy minutiae and not enough on quality game play.

Christian Philippe Guay
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Exactly.

To the contrary, the next generation should start to cost less as game companies should focus on finding new and greater ways to make games by offering far more with far less. Greater and more optimized game structures, systems, gameplays and ways to tell stories.

I'm pretty sure that the smartest game companies will successfully reduce the size of their team down to 80 devs or less; hopefully more around 50-60 devs.

Daniel Backteman
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I really do want to point out SpyParty for this argument. It is probably the most entertained I've been in a 1v1 multiplayer game in years.

And the game's assets are currently very...Simple, compared to the competition. To put it gently.

Bob Johnson
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The costs will stay the same because most of the early games will just be 360/PS3 ports.

Erin OConnor
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maybe they should ready this:
http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/193316/inside_the_striking_
art_and_design_.php

Keith Fuller
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Keep in mind the source of these comments. Yves Guillemot has already stated that his company's next installment of their flagship series, Assassin's Creed, has nine studios working on it. NINE. It's clearly a goal of Ubisoft to drive development costs upward into a realm in which there are no competitors. Monsieur Guillemot has quite a bit to gain by promoting the "costs will continue to rise" narrative.


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