A report based on analysis from M2 Research has calculated that the average game development budget for multi-platform titles is between $18-$28 million, with high-profile games often breaking the $40 million mark.
Some, like Gran Turismo 5 and Modern Warfare 2, have even higher budgets.
According to the study, the budget for Gran Turismo 5 is approximately $60 million, while Modern Warfare 2 cost as high as $50 million to create.
M2 Research also concluded that an average single-platform project come in around the $10 million mark.
These figures have caused some concern within the development community, as the pressure caused can be quite “frightening” as developers try to satisfy publisher investment.
“I think that’s one thing that the press, to a certain extent, is forgetting,” Krome CEO Robert Walsh told Develop. “They’re saying sales have increased over ten percent since last year or whatever; I mean, dev costs have probably doubled or tripled in the console transition.”
Combine such lofty figures, the current economic climate and actual retail sales, and you get a recipe for disaster should consumer demand fail to equal or exceed the initial investment.
Sometimes it works, obviously: look no further than Modern Warfare 2 as an example.
The game surpassed $550 million in sales its first five days at retail.