The Cost of Game Development? Where does the money go? *spawn*

Discussion in 'Console Industry' started by Tkumpathenurpahl, Oct 21, 2017.

  1. Nesh

    Nesh Double Agent
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    I find the estimated costs even for an indie dev over inflated. Doesnt make sense. Sonething doesnt add up

    Sent from my SM-J320F using Tapatalk
     
  2. Dr Evil

    Dr Evil Anas platyrhynchos
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    There doesn't exist a full breakdown anywhere on how that 500M has been divided by costs. There are some bits and pieces though and from those my conclusion is that the figure contains far more than your typical game budget+marketing.

    https://www.gamespot.com/articles/destiny-budget-nowhere-near-500-million-bungie-says/1100-6420802/

    I believe the above to be accurate in relation to normal game development costs.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-a...y-idUSBREA4501F20140506?feedType=RSS&irpc=932

    They made a 10 year contract with Bungie and I think many of the other costs in the 500M figure have been divided into those 10 years. The figure seemingly also includes royalties, I take that to mean the cut Sony and MS and perhaps Bungie? get from sales. They expect in the long term the product costs to be similar to other AAA games, which imo further points that there are some "extra" costs included.
     
  3. Shifty Geezer

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    On the subject of games costing more to make, here's Ninja Theory:

    $13 million for 20 people. And they've broken even, not made a massive profit to please investors (although they will profit in long term). At the same scale, 50 people, a small team, would cost over $30 million. Increase size and scope...I hope people can see that games are expensive to make!
     
  4. Billy Idol

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    500k copies, 13 mill profit ???

    That is about 26 dollars per copy profit!! This seems quite the high ratio for a game that cost 25 pounds.

    This article suggests that they spend 13mill in 3 years with 20 people.

    That is way more than I expected and I am curious what is included in this number?

    Assume a salary of 100k per year per person in average, that would give 6 million on salary in the 3 years.

    What is the rest, 7mill, used for? Rent for building, equipment, xxx ?

    Or do game devs casually get 200k per year
     
  5. iroboto

    iroboto Daft Funk
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    Developers get paid more, the remaining content builders get paid less.

    Loaded rate for these folks are in the 200K range when you include food, rent for building, equipment, licensing, benefits if any, actors if used for motion captures, middleware fees, marketing.
     
  6. Billy Idol

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    I just googled average game dev salary to be 84k per year, where the average in management is 101k, programmers 95k and QA people 55k.

    Watch the dev diaries...the costs you mention are standard AAA dev costs, they tried to reduce. No actors, game devs themselves played the roles. Marketing with the money the estimated from pre-order numbers. They designed and constructed their own equipment if possible to safe money (capture devise), etc etc.



    Here is the last game dev diary from NT, extremely cool to watch. Congrats again to NT!




    It is unclear imo, if the 13mill is break even budget from this vid.

    In the vid they stated that they break even way earlier than expected, and that now (time of video release) the made 13mill revenue and are getting profit.

    So I am not 100% sure if the 13mill are the break even costs?
     
  7. AlBran

    AlBran Ferro-Fibrous
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    SteamSpy indicates around 180K owners. Maybe they got a good store rate from Sony (< 30% cut)?
     
    #27 AlBran, Nov 22, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2017
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  8. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    Yes. "We weren't expecting to break even for nine months, and yet we cleared it in three." After three months they've made $13 million.

    Edit: Actually, it's not $13 million to NT, but $13 million revenue. They are taking a cut of that so costs are less. As digital distribution, should be looking at about 30% to Valve etc., so more like $9 million costs.
     
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  9. Scott_Arm

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    The spend it all on fancy chairs for the developers to sit in.
     
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  10. BRiT

    BRiT (╯°□°)╯
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    That takes me back to before the dotcom collapse when all the startups were spending $3K on Herman Miller Aeron Chairs for everyone, including having 4 conference rooms with 25 chairs a piece, so there was at least 100 just sitting there going unused for 90% of the time. Nice waste of $300K for no usage.
     
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  11. Scott_Arm

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    There are herman miller aeron chairs all over my work, and if you flip them over they all have date codes from the mid 90s. They're all good working shape, so maybe they were worth the money?
     
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  12. BRiT

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    They're more worth their price now, having come down to sub $1K. However I have seen a handful of them totally break, mostly around the front seat leg area. When that goes there's nothing to fix it other than ordering a new base and using the optional removal parts. I have experienced other chairs at that time costing $2K that were completely trash and felt like the cheap $75 chairs of today. I do like my $200-$300 office chair just as well as the Herman Millers.

    Ah, us developers are prima donas.

    What is extra crazy is how much cubical furniture costs. It is vastly more outrageous than the Aeron chairs, by several orders of magnitude.
     
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  13. CSI PC

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    They did have the actor Andy Serkis working with them still for this game or at least advising on some technical/logistics aspects/R&D work they needed for the project, he has worked with them in the past and his knowledge/experience is pretty good.
    The game I understand was a bit under $10m to make, but you also have distributor costs and in this case that would be Steam/GOG/PS4 digital store.

    That said larger AAA studios cannot really afford to take the time to come up with some of the cheaper creative solutions Ninja Theory did and they were great, the AAA big budget game devs are put under much greater time resource schedule although I appreciate Ninja Theory would still have some pressure themselves as longer they took the more they eat into their budget allocations.
     
  14. tuna

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    Most of it is low volume and often customized. Also, if you ask you can easily get 50 % discount of the list price.

    (Disclaimer: I work on software that is used to design and sell (among other things) cubicles.)
     
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  15. bunge

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    That’s what happens when your devs are lazy.
     
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  16. Jupiter

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    Ghost Recon Wildlands - 3000 developers/ 5 years
    https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=de&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=de&ie=UTF-8&u=http://www.pcgameshardware.de/Tom-Clancyxs-Ghost-Recon-Wildlands-Spiel-55716/Specials/GDC-2018-Open-World-Entwicklung-1253434/&edit-text=&act=URL

    "It's not just open-world games that are getting bigger and bigger - even the teams that work on them often span multiple continents and time zones today. Nouredine Abboud, Senior Producer of Ghost Recon Wildlands, chatted at GDC 2018 in San Francisco about working on a game with as many as 3,000 names in his credits........"
     
    #36 Jupiter, Mar 30, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2018
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  17. Tkumpathenurpahl

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    3000 cooks for one enormous, bland broth.

    What kind of balance of employees is there in a typical game studio? I ask, because average salaries seem obscenely high, and I'm curious if that's because there are generally a lot of programmers compared to other roles.

    In English money, that puts management at ~£70,000 PA, and QA at ~£38,000 PA. Sorry, but there's no way that those roles are worth that money. Programmers seems about right, but not when management is paid more. Why, because they're "management?" Okay, have a crack at managing a project without a programmer who's paid well enough to shovel digital shit for hours a day.

    This is an issue that I see consistently from creative industries, and less creative ones like marketing and graphic design for retail artwork etc - people keep seeking princely sums of money for a job that doesn't deserve it. And, in the case of the games industry, it just can't seem to sustain it.

    There are millions of artists, millions of writers, millions of people willing to test software, and millions of managers out there. But, curiously, studios can't seem to find any willing to work for less than the wage of a chartered accountant. Meanwhile, this seems to translate into too few programmers, leaving the extant working 14 hour days.

    So working conditions of those who really matter keeps dropping, whilst the cost of development keeps going up, and those costs are passed on through shady and shoddy DLC. I'm willing to be convinced otherwise, but I don't think the pay structure of the games industry is fit for purpose. Unless that purpose is lining ones pockets.
     
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  18. Jupiter

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    Thats your opinion but since a few months I see alot of people playing it again. Last time Ive checked it on Steamspy (end of march 2018) about 400,000 to 500,000 played Willdland's on PC every day (Steam version normally makes half of the player count). After one year Wildlands is still going strong while many other hyped games died fast after a few weeks.
    For me it is clearly one of the best co-op experiences out there but I personally don't like to play it solo.

    Btw I think it's a shame Steamspy is gone now.
     
    #38 Jupiter, Apr 14, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2018
  19. Tkumpathenurpahl

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    That's fair enough. It just felt to me like there was a lot of space, probably too much space, but not much in it to really care about.

    I'm glad you like it - and for the sake of the developers, I'm glad it's been successful - but it wasn't for me. Once I'd taken out a certain number of camps and upgraded my UAV plenty, I felt like I'd gotten everything from that game that it had to offer.

    Is there much more that opens up later on, or is it much of the same, but harder?
     
  20. Nesh

    Nesh Double Agent
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    How the hell do you ever break even with such a huge team?
     
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