As part of the second part of the Gamasutra podcast on next-gen game development, which will go live later today, panelists including Brian Eddy of Midway Games (Stranglehold
), Bethesda Software's Todd Howard (The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
), and Evan Wells of Naughty Dog (Unnamed PS3 Title) discussed the range of issues facing developers and publishers, with a particular focus on the rising costs of games.
With regards to the high costs associated with next-gen development, and ways to pass this cost onto the consumer, Naughty Dog's Evan Wells noted that he does not believe that games have yet reached a point where they do not offer a good value for the price. “I think that compared to going out to see a movie, even at $60 a game, video games are a bargain. I think that for the time being a small increase is completely warranted”, he commented.
However, Midway's Eddy, currently working on the Unreal Engine 3 title Stranglehold
, disagreed, and commented that he thinks games are simply too expensive. “It's that quandary of 'the production costs are going up, so we have to charge more to get the money back', but I think it does remove some of the audience. And it removes more of the mass audience than the hardcore gamers. They can't simply afford that many games.”
Eddy continued: “If I can buy two for $30, I may just buy those two for $30, even if they are not as good as the $60 game, because I feel like I am getting more value, and just more variety of gameplay. I think it affects sales. And the numbers and units that we can sell passed the hardcore gamers. “
Conversely, Todd Howard at Bethesda Softworks also noted that he feels games are too costly, and commented that “...despite making huge games, I think games are way too expensive.”
He added: “I'm a proponent of a $19 price point. What is a DVD or a movie was $60? How much research you would do on the internet to find the right movie to buy? I just think that, right now, more games would sell more copies if they were cheaper. The main reason that publishers get antsy is because we have to make really sure bets because if it's not a great game - there's not a lot of people who are going to put down $50 or $60.”
The full second part of the Gamasutra podcast on Next-Gen Development will go live later today - the first part is already available
for download as part of the GDC Radio podcasts
, which offer weekly audio downloads.