The Cost of Video games is rising with the gaming industry growing larger and more sophisticated every year. Ever given a thought on how much time, money and effort goes behind the development of your favorite video games. Gaming, just like any other business venture has started to have high production costs. But, unlike movies the gaming companies have been very discrete in matters concerning the revelation of their production, budget and advertisement costs. Some of these gaming companies have spent several millions on their development, marketing and advertisement. The production costs mentioned are statistical approximations and not accurate calculations. The net production costs include development, marketing and advertisement expenditure. Below is a list of the 10 costliest video games ever made.
The Costliest Video Games Ever Made
10. Red Dead Redemption
This Rockstar’s Western epic had an estimated development budget of around $100 Million with over 800 people working on the game at once. The workload was so daunting that a lot of these developers were brought in from other studios which were also owned by parent company Rockstar. It took a massive five years to complete the game development. Red Dead Redemption also had an extensive marketing campaign which included a short film airing on the Fox channel. With its release, Rockstar showed the world that they were capable of much more than just the GTA series.
9. Max Payne 3
The expenditure needed to make Max Payne 3 was mostly due to the fact that the game was in development for multiple years past its original 2009 release date. When the game was finally released in May 2012, Rockstar claimed that the setbacks were to ensure that Max Payne 3 delivers the highest gaming satisfaction. The game needed to sell 4 Million copies to be at par with the production costs. Max Payne 3’s release included TV spots that aired during the 2012 UEFA Champions League final and numerous other social media promotions. Its development cost was about $105 Million.
8. Too Humans
Too Humans was produced at over $100 Million. It’s mainly because the game was stuck in development from almost a decade. Originally planned for release on the Play station, Silicon Knights then shifted the development to Nintendo Game Cube before finally selling the title to Microsoft as Xbox 360 exclusive in 2005. The studio lost more money on the game after a lawsuit from Epic Games following the unauthorized use of their unreal engine on which Too Human was developed.
7. Grand Theft Auto IV
Rockstar North really pushed the boat out with GTA 4 with one of the biggest marketing campaigns ever conceived for a game, reportedly costing 100 Million USD in addition to another $100 Million for development costs. Its release in 2008 made it the costliest video games ever produced. The official website had 13 unique teasers and four different cinematic trailers alongside a TV commercial, viral marketing and more generic advertising.
6. Shenmue II
Shenmue’s estimated production cost adjusted for inflation is a staggering $176 Million. This is primarily because Shenmue II is a gigantic game with a massive open world. Arguably the largest in its generation. A huge staff was required to create such a large game in just under two years. It’s unlikely that any of the budgets went under marketing costs as the game had little to no publicity behind it.
5. Star Wars: The Old Republic
It’s said that the BioWare’s development of their MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic started six years before the game finally released. In 2009 BioWare claimed that their project had more story content than all of their other games combined which is why they had a full-time writing staff writing the script in lower of full two years before the gameplay development began. During its release in 2011 it was said to be the most expensive game ever. The cost of making it is said to be around 150-200 Million USD. It eventually became the most rapidly growing Massively Multiplayer Online game ever.
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4. Final Fantasy VII
Square’s initial foray into 3D technology with the Final Fantasy Franchise required 120 programmers and artists to develop, making it the most expensive video game ever developed at the time. However, Final Fantasy VII’s development costs were considerably small in comparison to the amount spent on the games huge advertising campaign. This included a promotion with Pepsi ads and big magazines such as Rolling Stone and Playboy as well as Marvel and DC comics and multiple TV advertisements. The game finally released in 1997 after its three-month long marketing streak. Adjusted for inflation Square spent around $213 Million on Final Fantasy VII’s development and marketing.
3. Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
This first person shooter which was released in 2009 is the sixth edition in the Call of Duty Series. After the Universal critical acclaim that Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare received, it’s no surprise that Infinity Ward wanted to go big in its marketing campaign for the sequel. Nearly 200 Million Dollars were spent on the games various publicity materials in addition to the cost of development which was between 40-50 Million USD.
2. Grand Theft Auto V
While GTA IV cost Rockstar a hefty sum to advertise and develop, this didn’t deter them from going even further in the game sequel. GTA V which cost a reported $265 Million needed over 1000 Rockstar employees from around the world to work on the game for a number of years. Los Santos is a detailed resemblance of Los Angeles and the games huge open world scale, said to be why the project needed so much work.
The gaming world was shocked last year when it was revealed that Activision had paid half a billion $ for Bungie’s first person shooter destiny. However, to say the game cost $500 Million to develop and advertise is not strictly true, as there’s an ongoing plan to create content for the game and market it throughout the next 10 years. While Destiny is technically a long term investment for Activision, it’s also technically the most expensive video game ever produced.
Written By; Adnan H Engineer