Are Videogames Too Expensive?

There was a time when a video game could be made by a single person. Sure, the game didn’t exactly have graphics beyond a few squares and shapes, and wasn’t much more complicated that consisting of a basic core concept, but it helps to keep in mind just how big and complicated video games have become. Back in the 80s, we should all remember, one person and a few months equalled a sell-able, working video game. People sell video games online from that golden age but some cult items will run you about as much as a current game.

Today, video games are made by not just one entire office of developers, but perhaps many fully staffed offices around the world. There are teams for core programming, teams for story writing and directing, teams for world building, and even teams of actors to provide voices and motion capture. Not every modern game needs the same type of teams, of course, but either way, a modern AAA game requires hundreds, if not thousands of developers.

This is great for a number of reasons, the most obvious being exceptionally high quality games, but also comes with a fair amount of concerning negatives. Namely; video games have become extremely expensive to create.

Industry Growth

It’s expected that a popular industry will grow. The movie industry, for example, expanded an enormous amount after it was established, as did the casino industry, and there are now 100’s of casinos like River Belle Casino that cater to players. This happened as more and more people got involved in the industry, which was popular enough to support all the new movie makers. Today the film industry is a multi-billion dollar, worldwide system, with not a country on earth that does not partake in it.

The video game industry has grown in a similar way, with the only difference being that the video game industry expanded and grew much more rapidly. Plus, the cost of making major mainstream games also expanded exponentially. The concern is, however, that in order for a video game to be a success, it is required to sell an enormous amount of copies. So many, in fact, that some mainstream games are considered failures, even if selling millions of copies.

Potential Industry Crash

The video game industry suffered a crash in the 80s, due entirely to games that were too expensive, and simply not selling well enough with the player base. Many feel that a similar situation is bound to occur in the modern industry. It is, many are saying, absolutely possible, unless the video game industry reforms in a few ways.

There is no need for modern video games to be as expensive as they are. High quality, popular games could be made for a much lower budget, simply by reducing the obsessive focus on certain areas of games. Many independent games, for example, that are still very successful, costing only a small fraction of a major AAA game, yet still being accepted.

If anything, a new balance of cost versus game quality needs to be struck, else it seems almost certain that many video game companies are going to be forced to close their doors. How this situation pans out remains to be seen, but it seems logical that transformation is due in the video game industry.