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Cost of Game Development is 'Crazy' Says EA

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the they-would-know dept.

Businesses 321

GamesIndustry.biz has the word from Alan Tascan, general manager of EA's Montreal studio, who has gone on record saying that development costs are 'crazy' in this next-gen world. From the article: "When asked whether he'd agree that it's larger companies like EA which are driving bigger game budgets, Tascan replied, 'I think a lot of [other companies] are spending even more money. It's people who want that, it's not EA per se ... I said to some of the guys here, "The gamer is not buying lines of code; you have to promise him enough entertainment for him to put his hand in his pocket and buy the game." It's a lot of money, so you need to give him a show, and we're just here to deliver the show.'"

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No Problem (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17113216)

Good thing EA only has to develop one Madden game per console.

I kid, I kid...

Re:No Problem (2, Interesting)

malsdavis (542216) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113408)

I really don't understand where the money goes for the annual sports game like FIFA ## & Madden ## (although I've not actually played Madden). The graphics and gameplay show only extremely minor improvements year on year, yet they claim development costs of many millions.

So where does the money actually go?

Re:No Problem (5, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113456)

Licensing.

Re:No Problem (3, Insightful)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113464)

I really don't understand where the money goes for the annual sports game like FIFA ## & Madden ## (although I've not actually played Madden). The graphics and gameplay show only extremely minor improvements year on year, yet they claim development costs of many millions.
 
So where does the money actually go?
 
 
the nfl didn't give them an exclusive contract for peanuts

Re:No Problem (1)

Hillgiant (916436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113608)

Money hats don't come cheap.

Re:No Problem (3, Informative)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113710)

"The graphics and gameplay show only extremely minor improvements year on year"

Graphics are easy to see without playing. However, I don't see how you can deduce the gameplay characteristics of a game series you've never played. As a semi-regular Madden buyer, I'll address the issue anyways. Those improvements are incremental but if you look at how long it ususally takes to develop a sequel to a game (2-3 years) and what Madden has done in that amount of time, the changes are typically quite drastic. That would explain where the money went. I still maintain that I'd rather play Madden 07 than Madden 06 with 07's roster and that's been true every year except for IMHO some exceptionally poor showings from 2001 to 2003 (in Madden years).

Cry me a river... (5, Insightful)

Joe Snipe (224958) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113224)

You think it's pricey to make games? I have to pay $699 for the console to play them!

Re:Cry me a river... (4, Insightful)

fistfullast33l (819270) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113462)

I have no pity for EA. All they've been doing is complaining lately. Heck, two months ago EA was complaining that the PSP is a horrible [slashdot.org] platform [arstechnica.com] ! They seem to be the only ones having an issue with it, however, as all their games have either been buggy [ign.com] on release [ign.com] or just plain slow and choppy (Sims 2 I'm looking at you). I say stop complaining about costs, shrink your development team sizes, get your products under control, and release some quality games and you'll see your costs decrease. EA really annoyed me with their support of the PSP to the point where I'm not buying any of their games at this point. The only exception I might make is Spore, but that's it.

Re:Cry me a river... (4, Interesting)

Bastian (66383) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113824)

I have to wonder how much EA's reputation for overworking their employees has to do with this. I'm not Brooks or anything, but I get the sense that the productivity of a developer increases more quickly than the pay that said developer will expect. With a bad reputation like that, they probably have a harder time securing as many really skilled employees, since good workers can more easily get a better job somewhere else. In short, they end up paying more money for less work by using more freshouts and fewer gurus.

Re:Cry me a river... (1)

Tei (520358) | more than 7 years ago | (#17114232)

Morons don't build atomic bombos. Theres stuff on gaming that freshouts can't do. You absolutelly need a bunch of gurus. Imho.

Re:Cry me a river... (2, Funny)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#17114416)

You mean like stability? Oh wait, isn't that one of the things they DON'T have?

Re:Cry me a river... (2, Insightful)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113498)

right - you can only look at the cost of production in light of the revenue generated. pro athletes make 'crazy' money because fans pay 'crazy' money for tickets and merchandise. but i'm not sure he was complaining as just saying he didn't think the current situation was sustainable.

Re:Cry me a river... (4, Insightful)

Moofie (22272) | more than 7 years ago | (#17114696)

EA is reaping what they have sown. I have not any sympathy. /former EA employee

Re:Cry me a river... (2, Insightful)

erbbysam (964606) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113596)

You think it's pricey to make games? I have to pay $699 for the console to play them!
and even then the next-gen consoles are 'loss leaders'.

Games have always been hard to produce the only difference between then and now is that they have more pixels to work with which means more graphics to create, not necessarily more gameplay. Gamers, in general, have been spoiled by the great control of games like 'Halo' and 'God of War' and the length of games like 'DeusEx', I think that this is just EA crying about how difficult it is to compete in the cutthroat industry that they have a firm grasp on.

Re:Cry me a river... (5, Insightful)

Osiris Ani (230116) | more than 7 years ago | (#17114028)

Games have always been hard to produce the only difference between then and now is that they have more pixels to work with which means more graphics to create, not necessarily more gameplay.

So the physics model for Pong wasn't really all that different than that of, say, Quake 4? The greater complexity and raw power of more modern systems allow for more expansive gameplay beyond the pushing of pixels and shaders. The AI, the level of interaction with the environment, and the immersive qualities of the audio fields are only a few of the ways that games have evolved since the offerings available during my childhood.

Relegating the changes to mere visual aesthetic modifications completely discounts the capabilities that the technology allows as well as the pure academic research that led to each of these advances. From a tech-geek standpoint, your assertion is almost offensive.

Re:Cry me a river... (0, Redundant)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#17114428)

If I had mod points, so would you.

+1, Insightful.

Cry me a urinal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17113604)

Not as pricey as having spent $699 on the console, and their being no games for it. So both of you can cry each other to sleep.

Re:Cry me a river... (0, Offtopic)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 7 years ago | (#17114034)

*cough*Wii*cough*$250*cough*

Re:Cry me a river... (0, Offtopic)

brkello (642429) | more than 7 years ago | (#17114492)

Consdiering consoles are just computers...and the PS3 is a very sophisticated one...that's really a deal. Try buying a computer with those specs for that price. I don't understand how people on Slashdot of all places don't understand this.

Re:Cry me a river... (1)

DeadChobi (740395) | more than 7 years ago | (#17114682)

What is it with all the console fanboys who always come into these discussions and derail them? It's about the cost of game development, we're not here to argue the various merits and drawbacks of the PS3, or the Xbox360, or the Wii. How did you get "PS3" from $699? It was priced at $599. It'd be okay for this discussion to happen if we were actually talking about the consoles. As it stands, I'm getting really sick of this argument. It's like watching Star Trek reruns on Spike TV in that I'd do it if there was nothing else on.

Even crazier (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17113276)

All this money spent on development and not one game I want to play!

Meh. (4, Interesting)

MrAnnoyanceToYou (654053) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113290)

There are always going to be two kinds of developers:

The developers who are creative and try to build new, interesting games every time in the interest of having fun and helping others have fun.

And the developers who are in an 'arms race' to make the most flashy eye candy possible in the name of capturing market share.

Gosh, wonder where EA fits in? I have a lot of respect for the way Shiny produced a decade of great games. As did Microprose. Blizzard is arguably doing the same thing now. Nintendo has spent a decade being a developer of quality.

EA, well, they're a good distributor. Sometimes........... erm. No. Never mind. Their games have gotten better implemented recently, but I've never played a groundbreaking EA game. So yeah, since they're just racing the competition to build the best game within the lines given to them, it's going to be expensive. And I have zero pity on them for high dev costs; that's the segment of the market they are going after...

Re:Meh. (3, Interesting)

east coast (590680) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113532)

Gosh, wonder where EA fits in?

Let's not try to be coy here because I'm having a problem interpreting exactly what you're saying. Infact statements like these are so non-committal that it makes me wonder if you're not sure of what you're trying to say or if you're just taking a cheap shot at EA.

According to you there are two types of game developers: creative and eye candy.

IMHO EA fits into both of these neat little categories that you've made. Sure, we all know the eye candy aspect of creating games like Maden. But EA also has gone out on a limb by publishing some fairly shaky (as in proven markets) titles like Alice and Undying. From my understanding EA took a bath on both of these games. I like both of them and own them but honestly if the game market is not buying these titles who can blame EA? They're not starving artists, they're a company that needs to pull a profit to keep people employed and to (hopefully) develop new and better products.

Re:Meh. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17113572)

The cost of game development is so insane because these companies are making formulaic games. They want more triangles, more models, more levels, more sound, but when you strip it all down, you're left with nothing but a flashy version of Doom, and game companies need to start to realize this. Yes the next iteration will cost more, because you're doing more of THE SAME THING.

Re:Meh. (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113910)

Maybe you should leave the FPS section every now and again...

Re:Meh. (3, Interesting)

NewWorldDan (899800) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113614)

The cost of development has also soared for Blizzard as well. 3D modeling gets expenisve very quickly. It takes more artists and more programmers. Expectations for sound have increased - both in terms of the sound track and the sound effects. This means hiring actual actors and sound effects guys instead of having a programmer spend 2 days recording a few odd sounds.

Yes, Blizzard makes really awesome games, but they're spending as much as EA is on each title. When a game flops, or if they invest a lot of time and can't get it to market for whatever reason, they're in a world of hurt. Actually, blizzard is probably sitting on such a cash hoard at this point, they'll be ok for a very long time, but other developers could really get burned.

Re:Meh. (3, Informative)

XorNand (517466) | more than 7 years ago | (#17114652)

Bah... it doesn't have to be that expensive. I've plugged them before here and I'll plug them again because I think that the company is amazing: Stardock [stardock.com] . They're a tiny, independent developer/publisher about 30 minutes from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Their most notable game is Galactic Civilizations 2 [galciv2.com] , which includes 3D modeling, professional music score and sound effects, an insane amount of detail, excellent replayability, challenging AI, and very balanced gameplay. When I think "independent game developer", lame little Flash-based games are what come to mind. However GalCiv2 *fully* competes with anything EA has ever put out. Stardock also has a very "pro-customer" stance [galciv2.com] on copy protection too.

Some Groundbreaking EA games (1)

Aaron Bredon (6704) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113696)

You must never have played these games then:
Archon - 1983
M.U.L.E. - 1983
The Bard's Tale - 1985
Starflight - 1986
among others

Although EA later became a 'cookie cutter' publisher/distributor,
it started out as a very innovative company that helped many
good independent designers publish their software.

Re:Some Groundbreaking EA games (3, Insightful)

Chibi Merrow (226057) | more than 7 years ago | (#17114730)

Well since the Grandparent first referred to EA as a developer first, I think it might be interesting to look at your examples...

Archon - Free Fall Associates
M.U.L.E - Ozark_Softscape
The Bard's Tale - Interplay
Starflight - Binary Systems

Notice a pattern? Not a single one of those games was developed by EA. EA just distributed it. That would be like giving RCA credit for Elvis Presley's singing. Which was the grandparent's point, as far as developers go they're not looking to be innovative or original. They're aiming squarely at the frat boy market. And there's nothing wrong with that. Just don't come back and cry to us later about how tough the market you're in is.

The fact they've published some other people's work that was innovative really doesn't make up for their Cronus like approach to the studios they work with in recent years...

Re:Meh. (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#17114012)

he developers who are creative and try to build new, interesting games every time in the interest of having fun and helping others have fun.

And the developers who are in an 'arms race' to make the most flashy eye candy possible in the name of capturing market share.

Gosh, wonder where EA fits in?


EA fits both categories, they have highly experimental games coming from studios they own like Maxis. Don't forget Spore as well.

But a big business can't run their entire operation, for years, based no the premise "hey let's risk everything and hope our experiments have commercial success".

They are doing what they need to be doing to stay in business: and they are staying, until now.

People do make bad choices, and dev's follow. (1)

Tei (520358) | more than 7 years ago | (#17114060)

Imagine a smart hot blondie. What will you notice first? she is smart of he is blondie? Of course, you will notice first the hot factor. And that also work for Code and Games. Even If some engine is smart, you will notice first and next how Hot and Blondie is.
Theres even some very very smart blondies out here that are angry because not one notice how smart are, and people only notice how blondie is.
EA is right here. People do make bad choices, and dev's follow.

Re:Meh. (1)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 7 years ago | (#17114218)

EA might be huge and unwieldy, but they do make some good games. Battle for Middle-Earth comes to mind. In the over-populated RTS world, they broke new ground in a few areas. I still consider the individual unit physics and the ability for horses to ride through and over troops a mandatory feature in any medieval-type RTS I play, and I haven't seen another game that has this, so I still play BFME.

Re:Meh. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17114356)

BFME doesnt break ~any~ ground

Dude! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17114718)

It has Gandalf!

And that guy from Pirates of the Carribbean! What was his name? Oh yeah, Legolas!

Re:Meh. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17114664)

Actually, waaaay waaaay back in the day, EA used to be pretty good. When I was playing games on a Commodore 64 almost everything they released was worth buying. That is definitely no longer the case.

Declare peace (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17113296)

Now would be an ideal time for EA, Ubisoft, Activision etc to get together and agree a maximum texture resolution and polygon count.

I don't think many people would be unhappy if they provide xbox 1 level graphics, but in high resolution with a framerate that never drops and no loading times.

Re:Declare peace (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17113952)

Thats kinda funny, since the artists will create content, and scale/compress the textures and models down to workable form. It's still going on, only to a lesser degree, since there is more storage space and better processors in this-gen consoles.

If you want unique game play, maybe you should focus on the 'ideal time' for Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft to supply the tools for small-time (garage) developers to make and distribute their own games. Texture quality has nothing to do with anything.

This has been bothering me for a while. (4, Insightful)

Canthros (5769) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113298)

The cost of game development has skyrocketed over the last thirty years. In the last ten years or so (the period during which I have actually been paying attention), I'd say that it's arguable just how much benefit this has produced for the game industry or their customers.

Maybe they should be focusing on making the games fun to play, instead of entertaining to watch?

Re:This has been bothering me for a while. (5, Insightful)

Phydeaux314 (866996) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113454)

Why do they have to be mutually exclusive? It's possible to make games that have an entertaining plotline and decent graphics quality. I mean, Half-Life was by no means "groundbreaking" as far as graphics go, but it was still pretty - and fun to play. Hell, it was based off of a modified quake 1 engine! I think the problem lies in the development time. When a game is rushed to the door to meet an arbitrary deadline, quality suffers. 8 years ago, a normal game development cycle was about 2-3 years, tops. We all laughed at dakitana for taking 4 and a half, saying that's what killed it. Now, it seems, all the "insightful" or "groundbreaking" games spend at least that long in development. Oblivion, Half-Life 2, etc. are all good examples of this. It boils down to this: If you have enough time, you can work on eye candy AND on playability. Save the $500,000 on licensed technology for whatever and do it in-house. Not only is it easier to suit it to your needs, but it's more unique.

Re:This has been bothering me for a while. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17114310)

When a game is rushed to the door to meet an arbitrary deadline, quality suffers.

So Duke Nukem Forever is going to be the greatest game ever when it's released. Right?

Nintendo (5, Interesting)

frederec (911880) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113302)

Statements like these give me hope for the success of Nintendo. From what I've heard, it is far easier and cheaper to code for the Wii (and similarly the DS/GBA) than for the "true" next-gen systems. Perhaps while the large companies are making the blockbuster big-budget games, Nintendo will attract the more indy, affordable games. Then when people get more accustomed to the PS3 and 360, (perhaps) costs will come down enough to make it more reasonable.

Or maybe Xbox Live and the equivalent for the PS3 will just get an explosion of smaller games, and there will be just a small number of blockbusters coming out on the system proper.

Re:Nintendo (1)

lavid (1020121) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113570)

Of course it's easier to code for the Wii! There's only one core on that thing. It's very difficult to effectively write games for a multi-core system.

Re:Nintendo (1)

ravenshrike (808508) | more than 7 years ago | (#17114324)

It's not that it's all that difficult, it's just completely different from writing for a single core and requires programmers to think in ways that they never had to with single core programming. Bring someone up on multi-core programming and I'd bet they'd find programming for a single core a bitch too.

define 'crazy' (2, Interesting)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113330)

What are we talking about? $10m, $50m, $100m, $150m?
According to Mark Rein Gears of War had a $10m pricetag.
And what would be even more interesting was a breakdown of the costs. For example, is it less expensive to use original music or licensed music.

Re:define 'crazy' (1)

torchdragon (816357) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113424)

The average triple-A title is going to be between $10-15m for the 360/PS3 generation of games. Given that a developer may only ever see $15 per box sold, in the current business model, you sell a million units or bust.

This is why we see so much crap these days. The publishers (ie, the guys with the money) shell out hundreds of millions on several projects. If one goes gangbusters, they win. In that process however, several developers are bought out, shut down, or dispersed before you even get to see their projects. Its a real shame. Remember Clover Studios? Gone. Looking Glass Studios? Gone. These were companies making fantastic games but weren't able to hit a bandwagon bubble.

If we're lucky, we'll see a huge shake up this year.

Re:define 'crazy' (2, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#17114040)

Okay - 30 developers, 100K each, 2 years would be $6 million. These are fairly typical ballpark figues but there other costs as well. Dev teams range from half that size to about 3 times that size, employee costs are probably fairly variable and depend a lot on location. Development times are usually at least a year and rarely more than 3 (BOCTAOE). So lets say between $3 million and $60 million.

Re:define 'crazy' (2, Funny)

Wite_Noiz (887188) | more than 7 years ago | (#17114484)

Sounds about right.

On that note, EA should stop crying - imagine how much Duke Nukem Forever is costing to develop!

How does this compare to movies. (4, Interesting)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113332)

The average blockbuster (meaning one that is intended to sell lots of tickets vs a niche market) movie budget is $100-$200 million. Game development cost are in the $10-$20 million dollar range. Game profits sometimes dwarf movie profits. Though I don't think game developers are going to be spending $200 million anytime soon (except for DNF) they will continue to make a profit regardless. The real interesting thing that is going to happen soon will be a break from the idea that every game has to be a blockbuster. More and more game studios are understanding a niche hit can be just as profitable as a blockbuster. Expect to see more small budget games even ones developed for the next gen consoles.

Re:How does this compare to movies. (4, Insightful)

fistfullast33l (819270) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113554)

I agree with you. Most movies do cost more to produce. Some would say that movies are mass-marketed to a wider audience. However, everyone has heard that the games industry is second in sales only to porn. They beat the music and the movie industries. Such is the cost of stardom - if your business is big it's going to cost more to play. People know you're making money hand over fist and they're going to want a piece of that pie. And once you're required to meet and exceed expectations, quality is going to have to increase as well, which costs money. I say shut up and make a decent game. They finally reduced the size of packaging and digital distribution is on the horizon - hell it's already here. That will save them a boatload of money.

Re:How does this compare to movies. (1)

Fozzyuw (950608) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113790)

The average blockbuster (meaning one that is intended to sell lots of tickets vs a niche market) movie budget is $100-$200 million. Game development cost are in the $10-$20 million dollar range. Game profits sometimes dwarf movie profits.

I agree with you. However, one thing to note, these types of movies also have a different life cycle.

  1. Theaters
  2. 'Direct TV' rentals
  3. DVD sales/Rentals
  4. 'Exclusive first time network showing'
I'm sure there are other parts of this cycle they make money off a movie's production, but unlike a game, it's pretty much just the sale/rental of that game. There's not a whole lot they can milk from it. There's also merchandising, which is much more main-stream for movies than games. There's plenty of game merchandise (more now than ever) but it still pals in comparison to movies.

Cheers,
Fozzy

Re:How does this compare to movies. (2, Insightful)

Duds (100634) | more than 7 years ago | (#17114144)

There is a different though.

A blockbuster film has a cinema run, then a PPV TV run, then a DVD run, then a network TV run and a really big movie will have tickover DVD sales for many years and will continue to sell at a reasonable trickle on Hd-DVD and then whatever future formats we have. For instance, Blade Runner is STILL selling on DVD now, 20 years after release, it's still making money. The original dev costs of these films when moved to HD-DVD from DVD will be minimal.

A game comes out, it sells for a month and largely dissapears completely except for a possible blip when reduced in price (which is something movies will get anyway). At best 5 years after the game release there's a new format and making a proper version for that will be near to or more expensive than the original game dev was.

So comparing budgets to prices to "unit sales" isn't terribly helpful.

Yeah no way... (1)

haddieman (1033476) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113334)

It's pretty much embedded in human nature to want bigger and better things. If that weren't true we would have just been content to live in tents for the rest of our lives. Furthermore, the more you give people the more they are going to want. So, it's no surprise that development costs have gone up as people are demanding more and more out of their video games. That's just the way it is.

Re:Yeah no way... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17113722)

spoken like a true american.

somewhere, someone deplores excess. hi.

so (1)

legallyillegal (889865) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113350)

game development costs are increasing, but quality is decreasing. exhibit A: Madden NFL. worst fucking football game ever. there was a time when it was on the top, now i'd rather play backyard football.

Blah (2, Insightful)

MeanderingMind (884641) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113386)

What is EA doing? Paying each football player to come into their motion capture studios to perfectly imitate the way each runs? Taking hi res photos of their faces to perfectly texture them?

There's a cost for HD games, and it isn't cheap. However, I think EA is calling sour grapes because companies like Capcom, Team Ninja and Square-Enix are able to make games that are stunning, fun, and wildly profitable while EA doesn't make the grade in any of those.

The sad truth of Spore is that it will be a great game, but in so being it will allow EA to continue their overbloated and inefficient methods.

Re:Blah (1)

MeanderingMind (884641) | more than 7 years ago | (#17114180)

Did someone give EA mod points, or was I really an idiot?

Being a Spelling Nazi (4, Informative)

Skevin (16048) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113390)

"It's people who want that, it's not EA per say..."

Umm, it's "per se".

I realize this is how different flavours of languages propagate over the ages, but I'm all in favor of keeping English as unified as possible.

Solomon

Re:Being a Spelling Nazi (2, Insightful)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113518)

Umm, it's "per se". I realize this is how different flavours of languages propagate over the ages, but I'm all in favor of keeping English as unified as possible.

I think you'll find per se is Latin :-)

Re:Being a Spelling Nazi (1)

Ninjaesque One (902204) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113780)

We use a fair bit of Latin loanwords, because the language of scholarly speech was Latin from about 100 BC to 1300 AD. Scholarly, by the way, comes from the Latin scholus. Also where we get the word "school".

Re:Being a Spelling Nazi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17113936)

no, there is an english-proper equivalent of 'per se' and it is 'as such' - the 2 words that were quite an issue during the First European Patent Battle (tm)

Re:Being a Spelling Nazi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17114142)

Actually, it comes from schola, not scholus. It's first declension feminine. And it came into Latin via Greek ;-)

So? (4, Funny)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 7 years ago | (#17114328)

English follows other languages down dark alleys, knocks them over, and goes rifling through their pockets looking for loose grammar.

Re:Being a Spelling Nazi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17113778)

being a language nazi (although not a native speaker), I would point out that 'per se' is latin and not english per se *evil grin*

Heh... (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 7 years ago | (#17114542)

Latin it might have come from, but it's been absorbed into the English language...

We've got bits of French, Latin, Spanish, Italian, and a horde of other languages intermixed in there. To say it's not English when it's in common usage instead of just used in specific circles is being a pedant about it. :-)

Re:Being a Spelling Nazi (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113950)

I realize this is how different flavours of languages propagate over the ages, but I'm all in favor of keeping English as unified as possible.

Thou dost mock mine native tongue with banterings of a barbrian! Have at thee with bulbous and troubedore pestilence!

GamesIndustry.biz are retards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17113392)


"It's people who want that, it's not EA per say,"


The phrase is "per se", translated from Latin it would mean "in itself". Alain Tascan looks like the bastard offspring of Edward Norton and Kevin Spacey, I'd be more interested in hearing about that.

Says who? (2, Insightful)

antek9 (305362) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113404)

I'm sure EA can cut down on development costs like they did for some years by releasing sequel after sequel, not counting spin-offs.

EA might just be whining because they have to start from somewhere near scratch with a new architecture like the CELL within the PS3 (which unlike the Wii is not just an update of a former system); something that more respectable developers do for any new game that tries to make a new idea become reality.

EA also has more fixed costs in the licensing department, I guess. It won't be so cheap incorporating all those sports celebrities, real team & player names, car brands and technical specs and what have you. But that's up to their own conceptual decision, crazy as it may be.

i can't believe how old this news is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17113414)

seems like someone is just reading the feeds on http://www.gameboar.com/ [gameboar.com] and then posting them several days later!

If I want a show... (2, Insightful)

karrde (853) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113434)

I'll go watch a movie.

When I pay for gaming entertainment, I want a game, something fun. This is why I bought a Wii. Companys can focus on the fun factor and not have to blow me away with showy graphics.

Re:If I want a show... (2, Insightful)

xtmno4 (1035416) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113854)

Agreed.

A gaming console is a specific computer made for the sole purpose of playing games / enjoying yourself. To that end, they should provide things that a standard PC is not really made to do, which is why I like the Wii. Yes, you can make the Wiimote work on a PC, but no game developer is going to try and market a PC game towards that. By creating one standard and interactive device for gamers to play with, Nintendo has given the Wii a good amount of backing for developers to market to. To that end, I see Nintendo doing well with the Wii.

Sony and Microsoft have a battle ahead of themselves, with each other. Both offer a system with some online capabilities, and similar game sets. The problem with both is that they don't really offer anything that a standard PC can't offer. People have had USB controllers for a long time, and have played games with them. The only real thing they offer is the online marketplace / community, but that can be somewhat easily done on a PC. What the two companies need to realize is that the 'hardcore' games that take a ton of hours to complete would be best suited for a PC anyway. On a PC you can run Ventrilo, Winamp, AIM, a web-browser, etc, all at the same time you play. That way, you can have you fun in the game, and add whatever else on top of it you want.

Because they are similar, and in my opinion in trouble, Microsoft and Sony have some work ahead of them. I feel that if Microsoft wants to continue to do well into the future, they would do best to shift to the PC gaming market. They already have an operating system they could work with, it just seems to make sense. I think if they continue as they currently have, they will do alright in the next gen (after 360), but die after that.

I think Sony will be too stubborn to change gears and will continue to try and push more hardware and expense into a box that people won't find fun. I believe that they might try to make a PS4 eventually, but it will fail miserably.

If either company tries to mimic Nintendo and make the console more interactive and offer more than a PC can, they will find a hard road. Nintendo already has the marketplace for that. It is much like the iPod and the Zune. The Zune may offer the same things as the iPod, plus a little bit, but it is just too late.

If game developers would simply make fun and interactive console games for things like the Wii, I think they would see the best success. If you want to develop a blockbuster of a game/movie, it would be best marketed to a PC, because you have a bigger audience, and less proprietary garbage to deal with.

Sorry to make it so long, but it is hard to show the picture I see with only part of it.

Cry me a wiiver (4, Interesting)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17114518)

This article has absolutely nothing to do with the Wii. Madden for the wii is still madden and people are obsessed over it graphically just as much as the other consoles and it wasn't like it was cheaper to produce the wii version than the other versions.

The simple truth of the matter is developers need to make games. That is all. Some people like wii games, some people don't. The wii is a new product in nintendos linup and i'm sure it will do good but it isn't the be all end all that people preach around here.

I like my graphics, i don't mind some cutscenes as games are sometimes stories that need some telling as well. You can preach the wii all you want, but the wii is a console, not a game.

The real problem with the media market in general (not just games) is public companies having to increase there bottom line as if we are just a product consumer. Most gamers don't play games because we need to, but because we want to and if EA doesn't make games we want to play it won't matter which console they prefer to support, how much money they dump into or whos name they get on it.. It will still suck.

EA is like the motor giants of detroit, they had some good linups but thought Americans would buy crap just because of name alone. Forget quality, forget character, forget slick design, feedback and personality. Its about profit. It costs money to make money and if you don't like that, then leave. Maybe EA needs some new management, someone who understands what a gamer feels when he/she is in the passion of the moment.

I like the small shops because they do one thing and do it well. Epic turns out one hit after another because they stick to what they're good at and they sell the technology to others so they can build what they're good at as well.

The problem with EA is they're a company who believes that buying up markets creates demand and that is where they will fail. You don't own me EA and thus i don't own anything from you.

Cost != quality (2, Interesting)

Grave (8234) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113472)

If EA is worried about the cost of game development, then maybe they should start focusing on producing quality games. They are repeatedly getting slammed in reviews with drivel like NBA Live 2007. If they didn't push out another iteration of every franchise each year, development could focus on building a truly blockbuster title, rather than a few updates with each release.

Ubisoft has thrown their weight behind the Wii, and embraced the much cheaper development costs there. They aren't ignoring the PS3 and 360, but those Wii titles will help cushion their bottom line a bit. EA doesn't seem to have paid as much attention to the Wii when it comes to unique IP.

Copying == open source. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17113758)

"If EA is worried about the cost of game development, then maybe they should start focusing on producing quality games. If they didn't push out another iteration of every franchise each year, development could focus on building a truly blockbuster title, rather than a few updates with each release."

Yeah! Like the open source [sourceforge.net] community.

Huh? (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113490)

I thought these were the guys who make tweaks to the same games and release new ones every year with a new year number.* That's gotta be the least expensive way to make a new game (unless you go Burger King's route).

Maybe they're upset about new control schemes by Sony and especially Nintendo causing them to actually have to code something INNOVATIVE.

* - Yeah, if you can't tell, I'm not a fan of the sports genre... I haven't bought even one sports title, unless you count Tony Hawk.

Re:Huh? (1)

(A)*(B)!0_- (888552) | more than 7 years ago | (#17114432)

"Yeah, if you can't tell, I'm not a fan of the sports genre... I haven't bought even one sports title, unless you count Tony Hawk."
Then do you think you are really in the best position to make a comment like "make tweaks to the same games and release new ones every year with a new year number."

I don't play MMORPGs. Because of this, I tend to avoid commenting on how poor the latest expansion pack for a game in a genre I don't enjoy is.

Cost reduction? (4, Interesting)

The-Bus (138060) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113502)

Is there the equivalent of "clip-art" for game studios? If I'm buying a racing game, I don't need to know that the makers personally did the buildings or the trees. Buildings are buildings, trees are trees. In film, there's a lot of specialization that exists: for example, you can buy pre-rendered explosions to put in your movie. A better example might be companies that specialize in making CGI oceans and water. A lot of movies with CGI oceans rely on them to deliver that look.

Could game companies do something like this? Every game is going to have proprietary assets like the protagonist, specific types of giant robots, monsters, vampires, what have you. But does some of this info get shared even between sub-studios? How many times is AI code re-written? (That may be a bad example, as AI code may or may not be part of the engine). Can we just use the same Enzo Ferrari model in each racing game? Do we really need 7 different companies perfecting how the car looks?

I don't think this will lead to homogeny in games. If anything, it will free up designers to be more creative and think about the important things in the game (gameplay, control, fun) as opposed to how accurate Scenery Team 3's rendition of this waterfall is.

Re:Cost reduction? (1)

cyxxon (773198) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113782)

Yeah, that is what I have always been wondering about as well. But I guess we are geting to this point, for example trees are already done with SpeedTree in a lot of games (Oblivion, NWN2, Unreal 2007?). I also think that some houses should just push this business model onto the market: create e.g. high quality human models or car models, in a generic 3d format, and sell them to studios. Change the head and clothing, and voila - new NPC for your game. Sure, locusts in GoW can't really be sold like that becaus ethey are too specific, but cars, trees, buildings, humans, animals, "everyday" objects like Mp5s for shooters or crossbows for fantasy games - why not?

Re:Cost reduction? (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113842)

I don't think it necessitates homogeneity. If you make these objects highly customizable, it will be easy to make yours different without spending much time on it.

What I want to see is a generalization of your idea to games as a whole. What if someone made a kind of game toolbox with an easy-to-use interface for adding graphical objects, AI, dialogue, etc? Ditto for CGI movies. Like Red vs Blue with Halo, but make the game centered around making movie scenes rather than have to make do with what's possible in Halo.

If such a program already exists, please be nice in replying. (And make sure you read the "easy-to-use" part.)

Re:Cost reduction? (1)

EvilIdler (21087) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113872)

Yes, there are content packs you can buy, some even affordable by regular joes making games for fun.

See Garage Games for a start; there are model and texture packs available for a fistful of dollars.

Licensees get access to all sorts of neat code, too.

Re:Cost reduction? (1)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 7 years ago | (#17114074)

I think we're already seeing something like this to a much higher extreme. In the past, game engines have been reused and licenced quite a bit, but now-a-days (especially in the FPS genre) I'm seeing game engines that specifically tout their easy of development for licenced products; like Source, The Doom3 Engine, Unreal Engine 3.0 In the future, I could see all kinds of genre's picking up on this method. I don't really see it as a bad thing, merely an natural outgrowth of the vigorous mod community. Which may explain why the FPS genre, a genre notorious for being very mod friendly, seems to have had the greatest growth in engine licencing.

Re:Cost reduction? (1)

cliffski (65094) | more than 7 years ago | (#17114086)

There are tehnical reasons why there isn't more of this. Not all rendering engines work the same way, and some are very fussy about how the polygons are arranged, and in what way special extra (no-geometry) data is added, such as placement of sound and particle emmiters, cues for AI, etc etc. Theres's a lot more to a model in a modern game than just static mesh data that can be universally implemented.

Things are different when you go lower tech. I use nothing but stock sounds and music in my stuff, and I've also bought pre-existing stock photos and pre-renderered artwork on a non-exlcusive basis. Theres a small, but I suspect growing market for assets in the way you describe.
Check out turbosquid, content paradise, renderosity marketplace, istockphoto, sounddogs etc.

I think that reusing stock content is only part of the solution, there are some costs in modern games that are totally gratuitous:

Celebrity voiceovers: Do I care that patrick stuart spoke for the first 5 minutes in oblivion? It did sod all to make it a better game, but no doubt cost a fortune.
Tutorial voiceovers: Like 99% of gamers, I can READ. I do NOT want a droning voice telling me what the mouse looks like, especially uf I can't turn it off.
FMV: If you can provide a better visusl look that revenge of the Sith in your cutscenes, go for it. If not, please don't bother, I have the DVD right here for when I want no interaction and cool SFX.
Intro Videos: A simple white text on black background saying who made the game is fine. don't waste yours and my money of 6 different hi-def movies of your company logos spinning and warpi9ng. Nobody gives a fuck.

I used to be ambivalent about the rising costs, they dont affect me, and anything that screws up the quagmire of retail dev suits me fine, but theres such a lack of quality games these days (for the PC) that I find myself wishing for a lot more, less expensive PC retail games.

Re:Cost reduction? (1)

Purity Of Essence (1007601) | more than 7 years ago | (#17114214)

Yes, there is a "clip art" of a sort for games, but it's not art, it's middleware, such as licensed game engines (eg. Renderware), graphics engines (eg. Doom/Quake), physics engines (eg. Havok), and audio engines (eg. Miles). A good, well-documented engine can save you a lot of programming time, but refitting an engine to fit your needs can just as easily drive up production costs. It's a balancing act and many developers feel that crafting their own technology is more flexible and more economical.

I don't think this will lead to homogeny in games. If anything, it will free up designers to be more creative and think about the important things in the game
The retail shelf begs to differ.

You beat me to this (1)

cyclomedia (882859) | more than 7 years ago | (#17114374)

What i find interesting is that a lot of games attempt to take place in real environments, take a racing game, such as the MSR/PGR series. there must be a lot of money spent on, for example, sending a bunch of people to New york to accuratley map the area around central park and take a gerzillion GPS readings and photos in the process before physical in-game modelling exists. throw in Nurburgring, germany. Edinburgh, scotland. Sydney, australia and you can see where the money is going.

Now, not every game can use the PGR style environ in the same way, take a skating game for example, whilst others may need more free roaming aspects, such as the Driver series. But i can imagine that there's money to be made licensing (possibly exclusively, forcing you to start over from scratch with each new licensee) slices of real-world-modelled ctyscapes/sports-venues at a MAX_POLYCOUNT of the client's choosing.

Unlike modelling a ferrari enzo i doubt you'd need to pass on these fees to another body, unless places start cottoning on, wasnt the whole reason a bunch of 80s films were filmed in montreal instead of NYC because it looked kinda the same but cost $$$ less?

Yeah... (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 7 years ago | (#17114472)

They have things like that- and for about every thing imaginable. Engines. Models. Textures. Music.

The biggest problem with all of this stuff is that it tends to make things cookie-cutter unless you're grabbing
things like trees, mood music, or sound effects from them. It shortens the cycle at least some- but, depending
on the game, it makes it seem cheap if you get carried away with the use of off the shelf content. But, they
COULD be using the stuff a little more, I think, without causing problems with everything. But the biggest
expense isn't in the production of trees, buildings, etc. It's in being enamored with this or that new fad
in coding or insisting upon this or that when it's obvious that what you're flogging isn't going to work.

Each and every one of these studios seems to be interested in "lessening" the amount of work they do- but in
the end, most of the places end up shooting themselves in the foot badly on that. They end up putting more
effort into the game because of those "labor saving" techniques.

Spending more (5, Funny)

tansey (238786) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113530)

I think a lot of [other companies] are spending even more money.

Yeah, but the other companies pay their employees overtime.

Entertaining? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17113594)

IMHO, EA hasn't made an entertaining sports game since Mutant League Football. Dodging landmines and bribing the ref, that's how the game was meant to be played!

How many times do we have to hear it? (3, Insightful)

LiquidHAL (801263) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113610)

Generic comment about how games should be fun and developers "aren't getting it"

Costs like a movie (1)

Fozzyuw (950608) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113672)

This is a bit of a catch 22. It's been a big push since the Atari/NES days to keep improving graphics, which comes at developing more sophisticated machines, which increases development time, which increases the cost of games. Also, as games continue to morph into an interactive story/movie, more time will need to be spent in much the same way it takes time to create film or write a book.

Of course, I'm putting my money on the Wii for one of these reasons. Given that the actual technological specs aren't as advanced as say the 360 or PS3, I'm hopping that this attracts more developers as development will be easier due to not having to deviate far from the 'norm' and couple that with the new potential to interact with games with the Wii Remote and nunchuk.

As games continue to expand into story telling, compared to the days of Pac-Man and Space Invaders, the amount of time needed to invest will continue to increase, along with the budget. This will continue to force game investors to 'play it safe' and only invest in sequels or licensed content (Disney Movies, etc). And as a gamer, I'll continue to feel like gaming is chocking on it's own success and be turned off by most content and invest less into it. Perhaps, this is why MMO's are becoming successful and games like Half-Life are moving to episodic content. You're not playing one game, beating it, and then playing the exact same thing 2 years later with better graphics. Instead, you're playing the same game, never loosing the progress you started 2 years ago, and the game just continues to build from where it started.

Cheers,
Fozzy

Re:Costs like a movie (1)

Purity Of Essence (1007601) | more than 7 years ago | (#17114342)

Of course, I'm putting my money on the Wii for one of these reasons. Given that the actual technological specs aren't as advanced as say the 360 or PS3, I'm hopping that this attracts more developers as development will be easier due to not having to deviate far from the 'norm' and couple that with the new potential to interact with games with the Wii Remote and nunchuk.

I hear ya, and this is Nintendo's entire strategy. They saw the writing on the wall five years ago and made the difficult decision to abandon the horsepower race. And I think it's going to work. Starting next year when the (extremely affordable) Wii development kits become more available and when the Virtual Console is opened up the Wii is going to start looking very attractive to cost-conscious developers.

A show? (1)

Azureflare (645778) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113876)

It's a lot of money, so you need to give him a show, and we're just here to deliver the show.


Well, no wonder it costs so much. EA has the complete wrong idea of what a game should be. I don't want a show, If I wanted that I could turn on my TV and choose from a gazillion shows. I play a game to have fun. Just make fun games instead of throwing millions of dollars at a franchise knowing enough gamers will buy it because it's the next iteration.

I'm not holding my breath though. The day EA tries to just make something fun rather than generating eyecandy demos I will be amazed.

A theory I've had for a while (4, Interesting)

solidh2o (951957) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113880)

I've dabbled in game development a little, but I could never take the plunge and do it full time. Something about being able to go home and see my family every night and being able to go to sleep without so much eye strain that I have a migraine.

But I do have a theory about the games industry...

Let's forget about all the hype of next generation blah blah blah. Look at the differences between game generations. Between SNES and PSX, between PSX and PS2/Xbox, etc. The graphical jump has been undeniably great. Now we're getting closer and closer to reall life. And it's taking longer and longer to make games more realistic. But here's the catch: in 5-10 years, that will probably go the other direction, making it easier ot make really good looking games. Think about the advances in 3D Modeling in the last 10 years. I worked with Max and Maya when they were both in infancy and I'm blown away at hte ease of some of the things that you can do now. How long is it goig to be before it just CAN'T look any better that what you have? I can't see any reason why within 5 years you won't be able to tell the difference between the real world and a game.

My theory is that in no more then 10 years, making something look like real life will be easy enough that it won't take a team of people with art degrees to do it. That's what the industry demands, and that's what's driving the technology. Soon you should be able to pick from a library of cars and buildings and people that can interact and get destroyed in a realistic fasion and will be pluggable into any environment. People will start whole businesses providing content like this and it will bring costs down for everyone for once LOL

Anyway, maybe it's the ramblings of a madman, but maybe there's a little hint of the future there. :)

I'm gonna go back to coding my own Final Fantasy VI clone now :)

-Jason

Re:A theory I've had for a while (2, Interesting)

phorm (591458) | more than 7 years ago | (#17114478)

I'm gonna go back to coding my own Final Fantasy VI clone

Got it posted anywhere? :-)

If you think that commercial renderers are amazing, what I've found is that the free software world is even more-so. For example, projects such as Blender [blender3d.org] and Cinelerra [heroinewarrior.com] are amazing in their capabilities. Even with such software as the GIMP [gimp.org] you can do rather wicked things.

Now stepping into the arena of game creation, I'm becoming increasingly impressed with projects such as OGRE 3d [ogre3d.org] , which unfortunately lacks somewhat in samples/documentation (it's a little hard to get started as the documentation IMHO starts off in a little after the starting line), but otherwise is very powerful and seems to a very good building-block for big things.

Re:A theory I've had for a while (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17114704)

As someone who is a bit of a 3d graphics geek you should know that realism is quite a way off. Lighting is hard, especially in realtime. And we're talking games here, something that looks real in a still won't necessarily be good in terms of interactivity. Games are currently terribly unrealistic - how many games let you shoot up a tree with your chaingun and realistically model the pulp flying, the vibration moving up the tree, the leaves falling and the terrified squirrels.... that is many decades off.

Realistic graphics mean looking at these two images and not being able to tell which is CGI.

http://xbox360media.ign.com/xbox360/image/article/ 718/718873/gears-of-war-20060714024932572.jpg [ign.com]

http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Jun2005/2005061615 3033_050616-a-5930c-006.jpg [defenselink.mil]

Hmmm... I wonder if buying up all the rights... (4, Insightful)

Assmasher (456699) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113884)

...to the leagues, team names, and players EVERY YEAR so that nobody else can use the player's actual name or the team's name in their games is maybe one of the reasons their games cost so much? Hmmmm? ;)

I develop games as a hobby (4, Interesting)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113992)

I worked for several years on mods for Neverwinter Nights [adamandjamie.com] , getting my games on some magazine DVDs, winning awards, and so on. The graphics were not the best aspect, even when released, but it was fun to play and it made for an interesting hobby.

For the last couple years, I've been planning a campaign [adamandjamie.com] for the sequel. Neverwinter Nights 2 has far better graphics and tremendous flexibility when it comes to designing areas. Such advances have a cost, however. File sizes are much larger, area creation can take ten times as long, and creating custom models is much more complicated.

Don't get me wrong - I love the new features and style. Improved graphics can make for a better gaming experience and a greater emotional impact for players. As with all things, though, there are trade-offs. I suspect we'll see more divisions between the "fun, simple, and cheap" games like Bejeweled versus the big budget games like Gears of War. There will be audiences for both.

Cost factor is the same old same old... (5, Informative)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17114266)

After working in the video game industry for six years at Accolade/Infogrames/Atari (same company), developing games are more expensive because the same mistakes are made every time.
  • Unrealistic schedules: A marketing dweeb decides when a game should be released without taking into consideration the developer's experience level, console manufacturing requirements, and whether enough QA will be available to adequately test the title. As a lead QA tester, I routinely add two months to the schedule and my time estimates are usually 90% correct.
  • Bonus Structure: The producer's bonus is tied to the unrealistic schedule and a lot of decisions are made to compromises the game so the producer can get his bonus. As a lead QA tester, I was routinely accused of denying a producer his "hard earned" bonus.
  • Unrestrained QA Overtime: If a game is not properly scheduled and managed, a tremendous amount of QA overtime will go into trying to save the game and, almost always, is shipped regardless of the final quality. As a lead QA tester, I worked 28 days straight on my last project because the schedule was cut by one-third and I was not notified until half-way through the project.
I'm not holding my breath that the video game industry will one day figure out that there's a saner method for developing a video game that doesn't blow the schedule and the budget like a bad lunch at Taco Bell.

Re:Cost factor is the same old same old... (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 7 years ago | (#17114642)

The incentives were bad for a while.

Programmers were viewed as exempt and so those unrealistic schedules allowed the companies to force unpaid overtime on to them.

I highly value our QA team. They save us from putting hideous bugs into production all the time.

OTH. I manage relations between them and programmers all the time. They can develop a "GOTCHA" attitude that is irritating. And programmers can become defensive when valid bugs are found in their code. You constantly have to sell "QA is your friend!"

In the end- if the bonus is only a couple grand- you have to ask yourself, is it worth being miserable for that little money? DO the math. Ask yourself what the hourly rate is.

And remember- a MINOR early failure can be very effective in managing your manager's expectations. They really have no clue how productive you are so they will just keep piling on. They can't tell from your complaints- whiners and slackers complain too (while loafing hours a day).

It is EA because of licensing. (1)

kinglink (195330) | more than 7 years ago | (#17114286)

I don't know if anyone knows the exact figures (as such I can't give them away) but EA pays multi million dollars contracts for licensing. The Godfather license they KNEW they were never going to make back (it's so large you wouldn't believe it) yet they bought it any way. They are the Sony/microsoft of game development, so caught up in the war and the fighting that they just dig themselves into holes they can't get out of.

The Madden franchise will save them of course, and be well worth all the money they drop on it, but the superman franchise, the Godfather franchise, and the rest are just screwing themselves over and over. EA has one goal, to license good franchises and make games out of them, and in that respect they do excellent work... Notice I don't say they make good games, or support the franchise, because really, they don't.

EA does spend a lot of money on game development, but that doesn't mean they are doing it right, or like everyone. The correct (at least according to companies I've talked to) development cycle is one enormous budget game, which allows you to correctly tailor an engine to your genre, and then a couple other games that uses that engine. You don't reuse an engine 50 times, but you don't throw away all the work that you do. EA knows this, but developing a new game like Superman or Godfather will always be expensive because they don't enter that with an engine in place, if you're going to have to rewrite your engine for every game you do, you're not being smart about it.

moD 3own (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17114364)

Cutting Costs? (1)

FrostyCoolSlug (766239) | more than 7 years ago | (#17114680)

I dunno, if cost of creating a game is 'Crazy', is that why there are so many bugs? I mean, it's not like EA don't currently make billions of dollars selling games, but the games all feel half-complete, or are full of critical bugs. Do they push out games early to drop some of the cost? Or do they just not bother hiring QA guys to, again, reduce the cost? Either way, they can get away with it because people continue to buy.

It's one thing to say 'We have (to pay for) NHL licensing' it's another to use it to ship out a piece of crap and 'fix it later'.
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