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Rumour: Next-Gen Consoles Expensive to Develop For, Say Developers

Cheap Wii U Or Expensive Powerful Xbox Durango

Bigger budgets and bigger teams are apparently needed to develop next-gen games like Darksiders 2.

Here’s a question: a cheaper, less powerful Wii U, or a more expensive and more powerful Xbox?

You may have chosen the more powerful Xbox console, and I don’t blame you. Paying a little more for a console with higher specs is worth it, especially if next generation consoles stay around for six or seven years like this generations’. What if costs doubled, though?

That’s what developers are saying who are working on the next-gen Xbox console, GamesIndustry report.

“I’m having to double my budget for models,” said one developer who is working on a sequel to a game from this generation. The developer said it’s taking a lot more time to take advantage of the consoles for each model, so bigger budgets or more artists (or both) are required to complete work effectively.

If the PlayStation 4 – apparently codenamed Orbis – has specs similar to the Durango Xbox, which it most likely will, then we could be seeing high launch costs on another PlayStation console. That would be bad news for Sony, as launching before Microsoft would mean nothing if costs were pricing out consumers. There, the Wii U might have the advantage.

Generating revenue

On the other hand, do developers want to developer for a console that lacks the power that Microsoft and Sony will likely be offering? The impression was the Wii U would be on par with next-gen consoles, so developing for three concurrently wouldn’t prove difficult as games could be ported over.

With bigger budgets comes publishers who want to generate more money. Sega has cut staff, cancelled games to try and save money, while focusing on reliable franchise such as Sonic the Hedgehog and Football Manager to provide revenue.

Locked, on-disc DLC and online passes have been solid – though controversial – money-earners for publishers.

More DLC probably means more microtransactions, like the weapon skins in Gears of War 3 or the ability to buy weapons packs in Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer. There’s also a realistic possibility prices of games will rise, especially if a publisher is marketing an “AAAA” title.

Those high-profile games will likely have large marketing budgets, so expect to see lots of ads (like Halo: Reach) to generate hype around a product.

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Published: Wednesday, April 4th, 2012 Last Modified: April 4, 2012

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