Business is ‘not healthy at the moment’
Profitability in AAA titles nowadays is tricky business. We scoff when companies claim a game that sells 3.5 million copies is not a success, and perhaps rightfully so. Amidst the inflating development costs of the new consoles, finding the right balance — between developer and publisher profitability — may be “impossible,” if we are to believe Avalanche Studios’ founder and creative director Christofer Sundberg.
“Games have evolved, technology has evolved but as businesses we’re still stuck where we were 15 years ago. As budgets grow, risks increase,” he said in a recent interview with GameSpot.
“Very few traditional $60 games make any money, and what used to make sense doesn’t any more,” he continued. “Publishers and developers very rarely see a return of investment from a 5-8 hour long game.”
Sundberg’s studio’s next game, Mad Max, is a AAA title that is being published by Warner Bros and is slated to hit both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. And from the sound of things he doesn’t sound so sure the game will be a commercial success, given the install base of both consoles.
“It’s a bit early for me to feel comfortable though,” Sundberg said. “The investments in a AAA game these days are huge and even if everyone of those two million people bought a copy each, most big games would not break even if they were next-gen exclusives.”