EA: Game budgets have peaked

Costs are "moving in the reverse direction again" says DeMartini; consumers better informed before making purchases

EA Partners head David DeMartini has claimed the trend for ever-larger game budgets may be coming to an end.

Speaking to at GamesCom last week, DeMartini felt that vast production kitties were not the only route to success.

"I think budgets for games have actually peaked and are starting to move in the reverse direction again," he said. "I don’t think there’s any one right budget for any game. It kind of depends on how big the idea is and what the team needs to be able to make a 90 percent-rated game with the idea that they’re working on."

Part of the problem, he claimed, was that potential purchasers were now more aware of games' quality and critical reception before purchase.

"Consumers are so much more informed. Before you occasionally used to be able to slide a clunker out there and still do well, but now people are so informed by the various outlets that I don’t think anybody makes an uninformed purchase anymore."

For EA Partners, this meant "more and more pressure, I think, to sign only the best." DeMartini claimed that picking studios with pedigree, such as Crytek, Valve and Insomniac, was "the best predictor of future success."

Though declining to specify just how far backwards game budgets would roll, he felt they would remain mutable. "There’s different ways to make games. I’ve been doing this for 12 years in the industry and there’s cycles, internal development, now we go offshore, now we come onshore, now we’re back…

"There’s no one way to do this. You just need to make sure that you pick a path that’s going to get you there."

The full interview with David DeMartini, in which he also discusses the importance of Metacritic, the current status of Respawn Studios and his thoughts on the Realtime Worlds difficulties, is available here.

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