The potential costs of developing for Nintendo's 3DS handheld are surfacing in some estimates made by Japanese publisher Marvelous Entertainment, and for now it looks like they can end up a good deal more than the budget of a high-end DS title, and even above some console titles.
Japanese blog Hachimaki picked up on an investor Q&A
from the Harvest Moon
publisher, wherein the company said it expects its 3DS development activities to cost between •70 million ($840,000) and •100-150 million ($1.2 to $1.8 million), depending on the game.
The report compared this kind of budget to DS development costs in 2009, finding those costs ranged from, on average, •4.4 million ($53,000) on the low end and •44 million ($527,000) for a standard DS title. For Marvelous, Wii budgets are estimated at •2.0 million ($24,000) to •116 million ($1.4 million).
PlayStation 3 games can range between an average •6.3 million ($75,000) and •250 million ($3 million), while Xbox 360 development for Marvelous averages a range of •3 million ($36,000) to •207 million ($2.5 million).
Development costs at the beginning of a platform's lifecycle are generally much higher than later in it, once developers have become adept at maximizing the platform and its tools.