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PS3 raises the stakes for game developers

The last of the next-generation consoles, Sony's PlayStation 3, is now in shops, but the head of New Zealand's biggest game developer says the country's games firms need to think outside the box to be profitable in today's gaming world.

Instead of gunning to make the next Halo, Mario Wynands, founder of Wellington's Sidhe Interactive, says small and mid-size developers should build games for older consoles such as the PlayStation 2 or Microsoft's Xbox, handheld consoles such as the PlayStation Portable, or for the online download stores accessed through the new consoles.

He says budgets for games made for new consoles such as the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 range from US$7 million (NZ$9.45 million) to US$12 million, about double the typical budgets for Xbox and PlayStation 2 games. Improved graphics and more interactive worlds mean companies must hire more developers to live up to gamers' expectations.

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