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8th July 2021

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Take-Two doesn't expect higher dev costs with new consoles

Strauss Zelnick tells investors that new technology could even bring costs down

Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick believes that the next-generation of consoles will not herald a rise in development costs.

In a call with investors, reported by Videogamer, Zelnick stated that he doesn't expect Take-Two's operating expenses to increase when Microsoft and Sony's next consoles are launched.

"We don't have a ramp-up of operating expenses for next-generation," he said.

The arrival of the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 sparked a sharp rise in the cost of AAA development, squeezing profit margins in a way that made life difficult for all but the largest studios. However, according to Zelnick, the new consoles could even bring costs down.

"Do we believe that titles to be a whole lot more expensive to make for next-gen? The answer is we do not. In many instances we believe that it may be somewhat easier to make titles for next-gen depending on how the technology comes together."

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Latest comments (8)

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 8 years ago
Probably true. The vast ramp up in development cost with the move to HD consoles came from creating vastly more art and then moving all those pixels around.
All the upcoming consoles are going to do is to implement HD properly, so 1080p will run at an acceptable framerate.
So no vast change in the amount of content that needs to be generated.
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Carlos Bordeu Game Designer / Studio Co-Founder, ACE Team8 years ago
I'm not so convinced. The screen resolution - running games at 1080p - is not the only expensive thing about making modern games. If the visual fidelity of games will be like Epic's 'The Samaritan Demo' (or the UE4's tech demo), the costs will certainly rise, but I guess not as much as they did in the previous generation.
Just one example would be facial animations. Achieving better results will take more time. You cannot easily produce shortcuts that'll produce better results (and faster) for all aspects of development, no matter how good the technology.
Getting better results will require more dedication = more time = more money.
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Hugo Dubs Interactive Designer 8 years ago
I agree with Carlos.

Also, in my opinion, new gen means new possibilities for players. More complex gameplay and vast universe. More thing to create and bind together. So yes, more dedication = more time = more money.

However, that's true that new engines were built to make things easier for developers. Real time modifications, quicker way to integrate things etc... so in a way, this need for increasing dedication versus the time saved by new technologies could balance the whole process and keep budgets from increasing too much.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Hugo Dubs on 2nd November 2012 1:07pm

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Adrian Herber8 years ago
I've been getting the feeling over the last few years that across the entire games industry game engines, toolsets and other middleware have been maturing in ways that make game development quicker and easier - and therefore cheaper. I wouldn't be surprised at all if the next gen does turn out cheaper to develop for, or at least cheaper in some areas so it evens out overall.
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Adam Campbell Product Manager, Azoomee8 years ago
It depends on your target for the next generation. It also depends on how you've adopted tools and middle-ware in preparation for it.

There are many factors that affect the cost of development in any generation - resolutions and better graphics alone don't necessarily mean higher costs, but it will depend on the time and resource required for each project and each studio as well as the target platforms.
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Having an easier time making code for the new platform is indeed a massive cost advantage. I'd wager that the difficulty getting their tech up and running on consoles, especially PS3, was a big chunk from every dev's budget this gen.

Regarding art, there might be an increase in fidelity, but maturing tools, less hacky workarounds and less time spend rigorously optimizing due to more RAM will likely keep costs in check.
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Captainderain journaliste 8 years ago
In some way, it's sad to celebrate the development cost going down for next gen. How could the games of tomorrow be exiting and spectacular with little investment ? Are we going to see the same kind of games/gameplay again, just a little bit more shining and smooth ?

From the development and editors community, I understand the need to control the costs. But from the gamers point of view, are we ready again to put the hand in the wallet for more of the same ?

That raised the great question that nobody are talking about: is there some kind of revolution in the air for the next gen ? Are Sony or Microsoft trying new ways of entertaining us ? Is everybody here already sure that we won't be amazed by really new technology that create new kind of game/gameplay ?

Where is the digital helmet... ?
(Or kind of, or something else...)
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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 8 years ago
Unity must have opened a lot of people's minds as to how quickly and easily games can be constructed with the right infrastructure.
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