Developing video games is much costlier today than it used to be a decade ago, and it looks unlikely that that curve will stop rising anytime soon. As developer get access to better technologies and larger audiences and push for progressively larger and more ambitious games, the cost for actually developing them continues to rise as well. And according to Shawn Layden – former Sony Worldwide Studios boss who left PlayStation a couple of years ago – predicts that that is going to continue in the coming years.
Speaking with Bloomberg, Layden said that in his experience, development cost “seems to double in cost every platform”, with all the major PS4 exclusives having had budgets of $100 million. According to him, the cost of developing a PS5 game will likely go up to $200 million.
Layden also noted that as development costs continue to inflate, developers and publishers will be incentivized to stick with projects with fewer risks involved, like sequels. He said: “If we can’t stop the cost curve from going up, all we can do is try to de-risk it. That puts you in a place where you’re incentivized toward sequels.”
You don’t need to look too hard at the things that have happened even in the past year that indicate such a shift in Sony’s strategy. Earlier this year, reports emerged that Sony was shifting focus away from smaller, more experimental games and would instead focus primarily on big-budget AAA blockbusters, which tend to sell a lot more. A couple of months ago, PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan also stated that Sony’s internal studios would focus on AAA development, with smaller games coming from partnerships with external studios. Read more on that through here.