High Stakes: BioShock InfiniteFrom the New York Times:
Mr. Levine and a team of 200 have been toiling on the game, the third BioShock installment, for more than four years.
The estimated cost of the project is upward of $100 million, not including marketing expenses, which could add another $100 million, analysts said. That is considered a large budget even among blockbuster franchises like Grand Theft Auto, Halo and Call of Duty.
That figure has been denied, of course, but I don't think it's unreasonable. And it means the break-even point for this game is what--six million copies?
There's going to be a day when someone puts out a $100 million game with a $100 million marketing budget and it sells 100,000 copies. It's madness, really, when gaming companies become craps tables instead of ecosystems.
And if BioShock Infinite has a $100 million marketing budget, what will Grand Theft Auto V have?
I know there's an end point here in terms of budget, and it can't be that far away, but I don't think it's going to happen until one of the mega-projects fails in spectacular fashion.
I'd love to know what the budget was for Ultima IV (1985).
I actually bought BioShock Infinite, believe it or not, and I'll have impressions up in a day or so.
Also, veering wildly off topic, you should go read this: EA and the Future. It's the only compelling description of a sustainable future for EA that I've seen in the last five years, and it's written by Mitch Lasky, who EA should hire immediately as their new CEO. He clearly understands what's happening in the industry, and what needs to be done to survive.