Quantic Dreams boss Guillaume de Fondaumiere has told the audience for his keynote speech at Digital Dragons that there is no reason why experimental and culturally relevant games can't be profitable, citing the example of Heavy Rain as a game which pushed boundaries and made money.
Answering questions after his presentation on the theme of games as culture, de Foundaumiere revealed the numbers behind Quantic Dreams' PS3 opus, which made a very healthy margin.
"These projects have been and are profitable, to some extent," he said. "I'll give you one example that I know about: Heavy Rain. Let's say it's $22 million to produce. With marketing it's maybe $30 million. With distribution, $40 million. Sony earned $100 million with the game, so it's very profitable. It's the sort of margin that most publishers would strive for, for any game.
"Heavy Rain was the ninth best selling game in the year it was released, so we made the top ten. It's true of Journey, too. I don't know the details of the budget, but I know from speaking to members of ThatGameCompany that it was a profitable game for them and for Sony.
"We should stop thinking that innovation rhymes with unprofitable."
De Fondaumiere's presentation was wide-ranging and touched on a number of subjects related to the cultural relevance of games, many of which are close to his heart as a prolific campaigner for the implementation of tax breaks for the industry which rely on cultural tests. Towards then end of the Q&A session which followed his speech, he also spoke about the responsibilities of of developers towards a young audience.
"Going back to responsibility, there's something I want to make very clear. I have a ten year old. This ten year old comes home and wants to play Call of Duty. Ten year olds play Call of Duty. This is where, as developers, we have to be a bit more responsible. So yes, we place a PEGI 18 logo on the games, but we need to be realistic, and thereby responsible in what we're doing.
"What I mean by that is that we could ban gratuitous violence in our games, that would be one step in the right direction, I think. Is it always necessary to over the top, to be totally gory with our creations? Yes, we're making games for adults, but let's not be hypocrites, we know that sometimes these games can fall into the wrong hands and we need to be careful. The responsibility is also on the side of the parents. If I let my children watch whatever they want on TV, they will watch everything it offers. It's the same with video games."