Where Our Money Goes When We Buy a Game

The conflict between gamers and publishers has heated up recently with talk about video game prices and the new trend to charge extra for multiplayer and downloadable content (DLC). Gamers have argued that the $60 price tag for Xbox and PS3 games is already too high, and are hard-pressed to find a reason to pay the extra money for DLC or multiplayer premiums. Developers and publishers have actually done very little to try and explain to gamers why games cost the way they do, so I've done some research to find the answers.

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hennessey862930d ago

games are getting expensive but so is everything else. I buy most dlc for the games i buy but like anyone ill complain about it but the point being i still buy it.

Spydiggity2930d ago

which is exactly why things will only get worse. cuz too many people think the way you do.

norman292929d ago

Can someone summaries the article into one short sentence for me please because im too tired to read all that :(

ComboBreaker2929d ago

hackers have the right to pirate games since games are too expensive, too costly to create, and too unprofitable for developers.


nycredude2930d ago

If you like something buy it and get more of it or if you don't like something don't buy it and get less of it. it's a simple concept called supply and demand.

Spydiggity try to understand. No one is forcing you to buy DLC.

iPad2929d ago

If you like something buy it.

Perfect excuse.

BRB. Im gonna buy a Ferrari. In a few days, I'll be bankrupt and homeless.




Thats not the best analogy. So your saying by buying DLC your going to go bankrupt?

itsralf2929d ago


Supply and demand has nothing to do with this, and that's not even what it means.

Supply and demand is the concept where as the demand for something increases, the supply decreases so the price will increases. As the demand for something decreases, the supply will increase so the price will decrease.

Video games very very rarely sell out at stores, so it's not a supply and demand issue.

IcemanHH212929d ago


it has nothing to do with supply and demand.
the concept is called : ballsack

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Omegasyde2930d ago


DLC is not ok for collector editions, during week or day of game release or any short time after.

Song DLC is Fine, Level/Maps DLC is Fine as long as they are reasonably priced. 5 maps for 15$ is not reasonably priced. And if more people buy the maps at that price, more developers will hold out content and release it down road after the games launch. What's even worse than that is Timed DLC. If the game is on multiple consoles they should all get the option for the same content at the same time at the same price.

New characters/skins/abilities should be free as to entice people to buy the rest. Warhawk is perhaps the greatest example on how to do it right.


Nice article.

But I have to say, some games, or some developers I don't want to mention, need to put a little more work to not release a game that is full of Glitches and Bugs that is unplayable for a $60 Price tag.

FFXI1012929d ago

I'll say it for you, Black Ops & Fallout New Vegas(PS3 version).

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xino2930d ago (Edited 2930d ago )

I wouldn't buy this article's words! They still make more money.

Ok...Black Ops sold 7million, does that mean it added up to total of 7million from price starting point which is $60? Or did it sold 7million copies? Because there are 3 versions for Black Ops- Normal, Limited and the what's it called? Prestige? I dunno but the Ultimate Pack with the toy car and other goodies.
So if all 3 versions ranked up and sold 7million copies, the publishers are farking rich then! Cuz The Ultimate Pack cost about £120.

If they are not making enough money or sales are not covering the cost of developments, then I guess the recession should be hitting them hard.

Recession did affect little companies, reason why they had to shut down and were laid off.

However I do know these publishers make many money!

searching online about Black Ops development cost, I ended up with 20-30million so where the hell did this guy pull out a $50 dev cost to build Black Ops!?

From a forum linked a reference to Grand Turismo's cost which is $60m! It does make sense since it was in development for 5years. So how can a game like Black Ops made less than 5 years cost of to $50m!?

Author must be pulling figures from his rear. No reference links too his word and he said he did research:/

-Ninja Gaiden 3- is sick!:)

xxxAnubisxxx2930d ago

He links to a couple sources and the article he links from develop has an interview attaches with a developer who put its cost around $50 million. Actual price has never been made public

grailly2929d ago

the article was ok I guess, but he doesn't talk about what retailers get, and only takes the average numbers. saying the average game costs 23 million $ to develop is preposterous, and every game has to sell half a million copies? It doesn't talk either about the benefit split between editors and developers.

Darkfiber2930d ago

I doubt many of them make more than 30000-40000 a year. They most certainly do not all make 80000. Maybe as a mathematical average including all the high up execs who sit on their asses doing nothing, then sure.

kneon2930d ago

I think the salaries in the article are about right. Even an entry level programmer should make more than $30-40k, likely closer to $50k. Senior programmers should make anywhere from $80-120k depending on their area of expertise and skill level. I was making more than $80k 15 years ago, it's well north of that now.

Good programmers are hard to find, I know, I've interviewed and worked with many, and most suck.

Bobby Kotex2929d ago

Without giving my background I can assure you most game programmers I know make more than $80K. That's conservative from what I've seen. Better yet, go on and look up salaries yourselves.

These are software programmers if you didn't realize. Experienced ones make good money.

Trroy2930d ago (Edited 2929d ago )

Game engineers make about $79K per year on average, according to GamaSutra's GameDeveloper annual magazine survey. It varies widely on experience, and frankly it also varies widely based on cost-of-living for each developer -- the ones in LA undoubtably make more than the ones in, for example, Wisconsin or Colorado. Most US games are developed in California, the Seattle area of Washington, and Dallas/Austin in Texas. There are a few outlying companies in places like New York, Virginia, Florida, Oregon, Wisconsin, Colorado, etc., but they're not the norm, nor do they represent a majority.

Designers make $61K per year on average, and artists make $63K.

After you factor in the extra taxes that an employer has to pay for each employee they pay (they have to match things like Social Security), and after you factor in health insurance benefits, 401K matching, equipment and software licensing costs, and building rental fees...

You end up with a cost of over $100K per year, per developer, despite the fact that the average game dev (art/design/engineer combined average) only makes about $68K of that.

Games cost money because they have to pay people to make them. Kinda obvious, but people forget these things.

Anon19742929d ago

Yeah, that 80,000 figure might be average for established programmers with 6 or more years under their belt, but how many in the industry does that cover.

Game Developer magazine did a career guide last year that was free for all to download. It had a more realistic survey and breakdown of what people in the industry make. I encourage all to check it out if they're interested.

Kran2930d ago

Just blame everything on the government for games being too high priced. (US and UK)

Problem solved.

Thecraft19892930d ago

No the irresponsible borrowers and lenders people borrowing money they could not pay back. Then theirs Gordon brown.

Rage_S902929d ago

pshhhhhhhh i blame the bankers

Bathyj2930d ago

It still cracks me up that Americans in particular have got the gall to complain about game prices at $60 each.

In Australia we have been paying $100 since the beginning of the 90's. And thats when game budget were miniscule by comparison. They're probably 10, 20 or even 50 times bigger now, yet the prices are nearly the same.

Tell me another product thats barely increased in price in 2 decades.

And BTW, Killzone:Helghast Edition. AU$250 compared to US$130. You guys have nothing to complain about.

turgore2930d ago

Maybe the Australian dollar is weaksauce, it costs to import the games to Australia and someone has to pay those pesky censors.

mynd2930d ago

Uh, its nearly parity at 97cents to the dollar. I can buy the censors argument however.

Bathyj2930d ago (Edited 2930d ago )

The Aussie dollar is 98 US cents.

They are almost identical.

You beat me.

QuodEratDemonstrandm2930d ago

Now that sucks. Exchange rate alone would only make the game AU$62.

Druarc2929d ago

Same in NZ, basically we get ripped, it's that simple.

One of the reasons I buy all my books through Amazon, even with our crap exchange rate I still get 2-3 books (shipping included) for the price of one here.

RememberThe3572929d ago

Why do you guys get the shaft?

When I took economics there was an example of 60 USD being the sweet spot for making the most money when selling videogames. Once it got up to 70 USD the demand would fall too far for the extra money made on each game to replace the drop in demand.

Now, thats just an example but its probably what is happening in the US. You guys may just have a higher demand at that price so they are willing to charge that much.

Bathyj2929d ago

I dont complain about the price of games, even though Aussies get reemed.

Like I said, show me another product thats barely changed in price in 2 decades.

In fact, thanks to competition from JBHiFi and the like, even though game retail for about $109 or $119, I usually pay only 80-100. Before this gen started all games were $100 retail but you never got the deals you get now.

The most I have EVER paid for a game is $135 for the SNES version of Street Fighter II, champion edition I think, way back in the early 90's.

I just dont think we can legitimately b*tch about game prices when they've barely increased yet the production cost and staff required has blown out incredibly.

Now, the rising cost of beer on the other hand,....
Dont get me started.

Hassassin2929d ago

And then you get latin america (I live in Chile) where games cost over $120 USD!!! I usually buy games in US and think it's a steal at that price.

BeOneWithTheGun2929d ago

And ur internet caps. If it wasnt for new zealand, id move if i were you.

wu-stix2929d ago

That sucks but even worse is having games retail for $70 here in Canada when the Canadian dollar is worth more than the US! If go there I get a game for $10 cheaper (retail price), and 3% less tax and 2% more value to my dollar. About $15 savings total. Obviously I wont just go there for a game, gas and everything else is cheaper too but it's just garbage that half an hour away the prices are so much cheaper.

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