The Witcher 3 cost $32M to make, $35M spent on marketing

New information has come out indicating that The Witcher 3 didn't cost as much to make as some might think.

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Ghost_of_Tsushima893d ago

It's sad marketing cost more than the entire game development.

mrbojingles893d ago

I agree. Not saying a big marketing campaign isn't necessary from time to time but I would have loved to see it be closer to $20million but then would it still have sold four million? Dunno.

raWfodog892d ago

I'm willing to bet that a lot of those sales were gamers who already knew about the game and were anticipating its release. Since it's not a 'mainstream' game like CoD or GTA, marketing would definitely be needed to pull in other people who may not have initially been aware or interested in the game.

bmf7364892d ago

Modern Warfare 2's marketing campaign was way out of proportion in comparison to its design budget. Out of the confirmed $200 million the budget had, somewhere between $25-$50 million was in the design budget while the other $150-175 million went into marketing.

Destiny is rumored to have had the same disproportionate budget given how much has been put towards advertising while the final game felt unfinished for lacking an actual story to add to the promising lore. $500 million went into the game, but the specifics on where that money went is unknown.

Having a well-designed game like the Witcher is great, especially at a low-cost for CD Projekt Red, but spreading the word of the product will be the real-money-maker. It was announced it sold 4 million units opening week, so $60 per game, and if 50% of that $60 usually goes towards licensing/distribution, $30x4 million can equate to $120 million, subtracting the $67 million from that means the game may have made at or above $53 million profit

Apollosupreme892d ago (Edited 892d ago )

Where are you getting $20m and why does it matter what they exactly spent on marketing? You have to spend money to make money. The marketing has no impact on you in particular unless you only heard of the game due to the extensive marketing plan.

super_bruno892d ago (Edited 892d ago )

The game sold 4 millions in 2 weeks and that all thanks to marketing.

Kind of incredible the budget on this games, we are talking about $67 mil total :-0 no wonder developers are jumping in the mobile wagon. I mean it's big gamble for this companies, what about if a game flops after spending that much money, that's how developers companies crumble.

mikeslemonade892d ago

Commercials alone are several million atleast and prime time like during the finals can easily excede 10 mil.

theDivision892d ago

I think you have a 20 million more dollars in your budget you can produce a superior game. If the game is amazing word of mouth will do marketing for you. Spending more on marketing than development just doesn't seem like the way to go.

JWiLL552892d ago


$500 million didn't go into Destiny's development, it's incredible how many people still think that.

The 500 mil figure was mentioned for the "10 year plan" they have with Destiny. That was what was initially budgeted for that span of time. It may change in the coming years, but the game we received only used a fraction of that.

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badboyz09893d ago (Edited 893d ago )

We need to bring Marketing/Profit up more instead of sales. Especially when it comes to Xbox. They blow Millions on Marketing third party titles etc.. But yet they never make any profit.

Rookie_Monster892d ago (Edited 892d ago )

Don't confuse marketing deal with a logo at the end of a commercial with actual marketing that a publisher puts out. These marketing deals are pretty tiny for partner like a MS or Sony as oppose to something like what MS will do to market their own exclusives like Halo 5, which they are publishing and will make back their money 10x over.

awi5951892d ago


Who disagreed with KumquatGOATBEEF that is the truth. I had a or witcher account for years because i knew they get all the money when you buy it their. And also steam sold the censored version of witcher one that made me buy it from the witcher website instead because they get all the money that way.

BassMan125893d ago

Actually, marketing is very important. Every bits of publication is important. In this case, CDPR needs to appeal to PS4 users and some people who probably have never played The Witcher series before. They're heavily promoting Witcher 3 not as a sequel, but a whole new game, so that new players won't feel left out. I'm sure their campaign works. Those 4 million sales in its first month is a solid proof.

elazz892d ago

4 million in 2 weeks meaning already profit for the publishers as they usually receive around 50% per copy (if they have paid the development cost/fund the game). Even if we take an average price of 40 dollars per copy (and that is low considering 70% of the sales is on console with an average price of 60 dollars).

KumquatGOATBEEF892d ago

@elazz CD Projekt RED is both publisher and developer. They own and any digital copy sold through there is 100% profit (server costs obviously still a factor, albeit negligible). The only cut into their profits is the middle-man when selling physical copies of the game.

_-EDMIX-_893d ago (Edited 892d ago )

I don't know what you mean. Marketing cost lots of money for the game they are trying to advertise. Ads on TV are not cheap, magazine spots etc Hell even space on Store fronts online isn't really cheap. Not to mention the material sent out to retailers.

Nothing is "sad" about it. Its business. Just because we here on N4G always read news and know about most upcoming games that are coming out, doesn't mean the common gamer knows this.

I just tonight had to explain to a friend what Oculus Rift was and then realized Oculus Rift has never had a TV commercial before, realized they don't have a Facebook account etc.

@MrBoljingles- " Not saying a big marketing campaign isn't necessary from time to time"

...we don't know just how much that marketing entails. Lots of that could have came from a few deals with some TV spots.

We can't just say $20 million and call it a day. We don't actually know just how much it really cost for some of those print, tv, radio, internet etc.

Its very, very likely that the extra sales they got were from that aggressive ad campaign.

The reality is.....we gamers in what i call THE KNOW, know Fallout 4 is amazing, we know Fallout 4 will be an easy day 1....

We know that purely based off of just knowing Fallout 4 exist, that trailer is enough for many of us to set are pre-orders.

We don't make up the 8 million or so buying that game, that is only a very small fraction of gamers that are actually like that. They might learn of Fallout 4's existence from a commercial, youtube ad, GS flyer etc.

While I was working at K-Mart as a young lad and Fallout 3 came out, one of my fellow managers at the time (damn I feel old now) was a gamer and I was talking about Fallout 3 to another friend of mine and he asked what it was about.

Turns out...he was a Fallout fan of the PC series long ago and wanted to know how much changed, strangely...he got Fallout 3 that same day (where I lived had a GameStop in the same plaza as the K-mart I worked in). So it goes to show you, just because you read about games every single day and we all see each other over the webz, doesn't mean we make up all gamers everywhere. Consider how many familiar avatars and names we see everyday of folks we all know here.

Its not in the millions...not even slightly. They actually spent pretty low on marketing considering the game magnitude. I imagined this whole time they spent huge millions (near the 100 mark) as I've seen commercials none stop of it lol.

Heavy Rain spent around 32 million on marketing, just to show how low that actually is in terms of the game. This game is on 3 systems, a HUGE AAA bench mark, I assumed they would spend way more. Clearly I was wrong, they did a great job with their marketing budget. (Hell I would like to know who they hired for the work too, as I'm sure many publishers now want to know the company in charge of that campaign lol)

UltraNova892d ago


I don't know which is longer, China's Great Wall or your comment(s)...

Good points, nonetheless.

coreyweb892d ago

I think it's cause they waited so long. They blitzed REALLY hard the few weeks before release. Like EVERYWHERE I looked it was "Witcher 3" everything. So they didn't have to spend money the entire time. Just for the main blitz.

_-EDMIX-_892d ago

@UltraNova- lol, when I write, I like to be thorough and I often like to write how I speak.

If you and I were in a room talking about this, it would be much longer lol.

Great respect for those that read the whole thing though, I enjoy reading many long post on here as many situations are not as easy to explain in a few words.


Too long, I'll wait for the movie version... Just kidding, I'm usually the same with long texts trying to cover all of my points, sometimes ending up in such a crazy wall of text that I end up not even posting it. It's cool.

Back on topic, I too see no point in criticizing CDPR here... Considering what they actually got in marketing, they just made a minor economic miracle with that budget right there.

And even if they had to spent a lot more of their budget on marketing, ending up with a lesser game from lack of fundings (not the case here at all), we still shouldn't be so hasty to condemn them or any other dev at that... I mean, what can they really do about it? Marketing costs too damn much and not doing any publicity to instead invest it all on the game itself, wouldn't automatically mean a developer would be doing the greatest unappreciated gem ever to release... What it does ensure is your chances of having a loss.

I'm under the impression people mistake how the gaming industry (or any industry at that) work a budget. They don't go like "hey boss, we have 60+ millions, that's all we could scrap, how much do you want us to put on marketing?". That's not how things go... The devs need to set their vision in order to define a direction, what kind of team they will need, how many work hours are they talking about, what their final goals will be and, finally, when they have a clear idea on the project, that's when they can start to even discuss what kind of marketing they will be needing and how much will it all cost, what kind of budget they will need to raise. Simply ignoring this logic to say "imagine what it would be if they spent it all on the game itself" is unrealistic, you can't just spent more on work hours or man power with the same direction to achieve higher goals automatically, there's a technical limit (how much can you really explore current tech gaming machines efficiently, specially considering this is a game intended for many people in many platforms, not a benchmark), a time limit (how long will you take developing, specially considering that your engine is not getting any younger as that tech limit moves with time, if you wait too long you may end up blowing money on stuff that will either get dumped or be extemely outdated by release) and definetely a money limit (specially in this case, we're talking about CDPR, not EA, they don't have that deep pockets to work with no expectation of a return becuase they just ignored marketing needs, devs have to eat too, you know...).

Sure the facts that so much money is put on marketing and that marketing became so vital is not exactly pleasing, not even for the devs, so we could even argue if we shouldn't be blaming it on gamers who are too worried with what's popular... But then we should as well argue if we would ever be numbering on the hundreds of millions of gamers if it wasn't for marketing in the first place. In the end, both are pointless considerations, it won't change the reality we live in, and at that reality, CDPR did what they needed to do and graciously so. From all the things they could be criticized about, budget management is not one of them.

PS: And look at that, another wall of text...

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sarlucic892d ago

This is usually the case for high profile games. Modern warfare 2 cost 50 million usd in development, 200 million usd in marketing. Final fantasy VII, 45 million development, 100 million in marketing. The only notable game that cost more to develop was GTA 5 witch costed the incredible amount of 137 million to develop and 128 million in marketing.

s: wikipedia D:

showtimefolks892d ago (Edited 892d ago )

damn so much less than GTA5 lol(both are amazing), destiny cost 500 million lol, and 485 million went towards marketing

on topic:

witcher 3 is an amazing game, i am surprised it only cost 32 million to develop, when major AAA games all cost over 40-50 million

SmielmaN892d ago

Don't let user: Death see this article. He thinks AAA games cost $100+ million to make and need 5 million units sold to make a small profit.

On topic: good for the developer for hitting a home run with W3. I'm sure they will be greenlit for even more projects to develop. Good for gaming.

Azzanation892d ago

Unfortunately that's how you sell the games. The world spins off marketing. Good products sell bad and bad products sell good because one can out market the other with the more $$$ spent.

I don't agree with it at all, some of the greatest games iv ever played are the ones no one knows about because the company invested so much into the game and not the marketing and those companies are dead now.

Paperclip666892d ago

Because the idiot masses spend money on things they know next to nothing about besides "guy on cover with a gun"

ShutUpDonny892d ago

Kevin Smith said that for Clerks 2, the marketing budget was twice the movie's budget. When he learned about it, he was pissed of because a lot of his actors and crew was barely paid and he could have paid them correctly with that money. This is one of the reasons he stopped making movies for the big screen.

Magicite892d ago

Less than 100m for game of this caliber is really low (in a good way). I think they will be raking in profits and Witcher 4 confirmed.

thekhurg892d ago

Not confirmed. The series ends with this game, CDPR has said this was a trilogy only from day one.

Perez892d ago

its the end of this trilogy the witcher IP will continue on as already stated by CDPR even 2 years ago, 4 is really really likely but I guess there gonna focus on Ciri.

Captain_TomAN94892d ago

Destiny's successful launch proved that insane marketing can brute-force a mediocre game to become a great success.

joab777892d ago

It's not the $35 million on adverts that is surprising, it's the $32 million on the game itself.

Thats incredible that it only cost that amount. I thought it would have been 3-4x that minimum.

892d ago Replies(1)
Blaze929892d ago

There's nothing sad about it. That's how you sell something - you market it as much as you want.

An album might have cost an artist/band $3000 to make but they end up spending $50,000 to market it. Nothing sad about that. Gotta get it out how you gotta get it out - as long as the product is A1

mav805892d ago

I agree that marketing for games seems absurdly astronomical. I've read that an average company spends 2-5% of revenue on advertising, I just don't understand what a game company thinks they can gain by spending 2/3 of their budget on marketing. You'd think making a polished, amazing game because they actually spent the money on the game would earn more fans and support, as well as probably save money...

Maybe it doesn't apply to TW3 because it already is content rich, but other companies should certainly think about spending more on their games and less on hype.

gedapeleda892d ago

You know what I also agree with sad.
It's an amazingly well made game, it shouldn't need that much adds. Anyway they won't need that much for the 4th

3-4-5892d ago

* Obviously they have the wrong people in their marketing department.

It doesn't cost $35 million to market.

The Marketing department was able to secure $35 million in funds.

What this means is, they need $500 for A, but they charge or say they need $2,000 for it.

This allows people within the company ( higher ups), to collect a larger salary for doing nothing.

* I could do = marketing for Witcher 3 BY MY SELF, for said company, for $500,000 no problem.

Wouldn't be hard.

I'm just not in marketing, so I'm not in a position of power to be allowed to do that.

* Just because somebody does a job, doesn't mean they are good at it, they are just the ones doing it.

There are only so many people within marketing at that level, but it doesn't mean they are efficient in the way they go about doing it.

* They KNOW how to spend, but any person can do that.

It takes no skill or ability to spend $35 on marketing.

I'm sure thousands of us could do = marketing for the witcher 3 for 5% the cost.

* Internet marketing = FREE

How don't they get that ?

They aren't thinking outside the box enough.

$35 million dollars could make few pretty darn good games.

* THIS is the one of the main problems in gaming now.

Want to know why said company spend 5 years making a game, and ONLY ONE GAME ?

Because they spent it all stupidly on marketing.

* Internet is Free
* Word of Mouth is Free
* Your own website is FREE or close enough.

They spent $35 million dollars on marketing because they could.....because they were allowed to by their boss.

Poor leadership, because $35 million could have went into making the Witcher 4 or another game by them, and now it won't.

$35 million just to talk.........that you gain no tangible object or substance from.

What a waste...

This game was marketed just fine for nearly free via internet gaming forums and word of mouth.

* They didn't need to spend that cash, they wanted to.

gedden7892d ago

This is the gaming industry....

MWH892d ago (Edited 892d ago )

the media has the power.

but there's a bright side for CDPR if you look at the game's sales projections.

Xof892d ago

Traditional media has less and less power every day.

If you want to sell your game, you can reach more consumers spending zero dollars on some big Youtubers than spending All Of The Dollars on old media.

Dragonking007892d ago

Wow well at least they didnt spent more then rockstar and bungie 500 million for destiny and around 250 million for gta 5 overall gta 5 really shows how good the quality of it was destiny feels very small in comparison..

BozoLoco892d ago

It's not uncommon in all forms of media. You have different rates in different countries and a marketing campaign in the US might cost less than a marketing campaign of the same size in a different country.

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hello12893d ago

No source for the information given on that site!

mrbojingles893d ago

There is a link in "come to light" embedded.

Walker893d ago

$67 million total sounds about right.

mrbojingles893d ago

I'd love to see more AAA games get closer to $50M or less. Maybe we'd see the return of the AA Mid-tier game!

Concertoine893d ago (Edited 893d ago )

The middle market is dead, sadly. Now we have indies or massive budget AAA games.

UltraNova892d ago

Wasn't Dishonored and Shadows of Mordor mid-tier?

Well, I'll have more of those please.

CerealKiller893d ago (Edited 893d ago )

The dollar is strong and the game is developed in Poland so when the development cost is translated to dollar it seems very low compared to if it was developed in the US.

t-hall785893d ago

i'm tryin to figure out why COD costs so much more and is a shit game(s) compared to this. perfect example of taking your time and doing it right. Kudos CD Projekt Red. Kudos.

jackanderson1985893d ago

activision have a bigger marketing machine (global advertising on a massive scale), they utilise big name talent (kevin spacey for example), cost of the discs (they do sell in excess of 20mil a year, that stuff adds up)

cost of the game is probably roughly the same, maybe a couple of mil difference but that could be anything due to developer costs (minimum wage in Poland considerably less than USA), time required to complete the game (short time, more overtime pay, increase costs)

also COD isn't a shit game... it's always well received, sells millions and has an online multiplayer that lasts a long long time.... if you don't like it fair enough, but it wouldn't still be going if it was shit

t-hall785892d ago

By shit i mean 3 different teams pretty much making the same game over and over. Can't say that about The Witcher...