You want to support those that make games right?
There has been a widely criticized article by a veteran of the industry in regards to how the used game market takes from the companies that makes those games. I personally have spent many years in the industry, both designing and being in the Quality Assurance department. There is nothing harsher than a hit to sales because people are cheap. Cheap is something that the gaming industry is not.
Have you ever wondered HOW MUCH it takes to make a video game? Let’s start with software:
Autodesk 3ds Max: $3,990.00 PER computer. This is the most widely used 3D modeling software in games today. Consider a company that has roughly 200 employees, maybe 50 of them are artists; the amount comes out to $199,500 JUST FOR THE ARTISTS.
Game Engine: These are in no way/shape/form cheap. Though no actual sales figure numbers are recorded, it is safe to say it is lower or equal to that of the price for 3ds Max. Now with a company of 200, there are probably a good 100 designers and programmers that will need this. So, figure a rough estimate of about $3,000 / PC would be sufficient enough to equal at $300,000.
Miscellaneous: This is where you will see your Photoshop, Havok Toolset which are both very much widely used. So-an estimate- around $10,000-15,000 per PC is a safe ballpark for combined misc. tools. If you figure of a development studio with 200 employees, around 150 will see these items. That is about $1.5million – $2.25million.
Employees: This is a crucial part to every studio, now if you figure in 200 employees, each needing a paycheck you are looking WELL ABOVE $1million in salary ALONE.
TOTAL: $1,999,599 – $2,749,500 to make a SINGLE game.
Now that we have this figure, video games cost MILLIONS upon MILLIONS of dollars to create. Figure that there are roughly around 500 million games printed from a blockbuster title, coming in around $1.25-$1.50 to make a single disk –again no recorded numbers. – You are looking at a company that spending $625million – $750million to ship a product to consumers. THEN, stores turn around and sell the games for $60 per unit. However this is not what the developers / publishers make. There will always be games that are left on the shelves in an entire life cycle. That is money wasted to them. Now, comes the issue of money being split (I see 70/30 a lot) between developer, publisher and retail.
If a company is has a 70/30 split with retailers, that means for every $60 game, the retailer gets $18. Now if that said game sells for $55 used, the 70/30 split is brought down to a 0/100 in favor of the retailer. Say the company is GameStop; they purchased the games to be sold in their store for ~$5.50 / game. They automatically make a $49.50 profit from selling it used; that is almost $50 that could be used to continue further development to a particular game. The issue here is that since these games cost a TON of money to make, why is it ok to not reward those that have given up SO MUCH in order to bring you what it is you play every single day?
Your average development cycle runs 1-2 years in length. Keep in mind that they do this knowing technology will change, and something just as good could be developed just as quickly.
In the past few days I seen tons of arguments about how “the developer should not spend so much” on games. It is really not the developers fault. With the lack of expansive and quality in-house game tools they have to rely on third-party software in order to compensate for it. This is where companies like Autodesk come in and help out.
Companies now are looking to other ways to encourage the consumer to buy new games; a great instance is the Volition Inc. hit Saints Row: The Third. Saints Row came with an Online Pass, and if you bought yours used guess what? You will have to fork out $10 to play online. However, here is where you -the consumer- have failed: you bought the game for $55 used, when you could have bought it for $60 new. Now, you get home and the Online Pass has been used, now you end up paying $65 in total for the game AND online pass. And on top of that you just put $10 into the pocket of the developers. Do you see how this logic is idiotic?
If down the road companies like Microsoft decide to go the route of anti-used games, then so be it. Support the industry each and every single one of you have come to love, and have grown with! Stop being a whiny baby and help developers keep making our lives that much more enjoyable!