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Myth: Game Development Budgets

CNBC reiterates a common development budget myth during an interview with Ubisoft:

Games for the Wii typically cost much less to create, due to the system’s less than cutting-edge components

Wrong. Games for the Wii generally require smaller budgets because they are simpler games.

God of War 2 used a huge development budget on the PS2, which is even older, lower-spec technology than the Wii, but the game used massive quantities of high quality art and animation assets. Something like Mario Party of Wii Play use far less art and animation assets and far simpler game logic despite the fact that the Wii can handle more complex art assets and game logic than the PS2.

Secondly, PS3/360/Wii cross platform titles like Guitar Hero or Call of Duty, probably share most of the man hours of development effort across the different platforms. The PS3/360 versions probably require slightly more because they have richer feature sets and the higher quality art assets do require more labor to create, but overall I suspect that most of the development efforts are well shared.

The audiences that buy fancier hardware generally demand fancier software, but the fancier hardware itself doesn’t generally require more man hours of development given that the complexity of the game is held constant.