The increased graphical capabilities of the PlayStation 5 could translate into higher developing costs for the console’s AAA games. PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan spoke to GamesIndustry.Biz and revealed in an interview that the cost of making games in the vein of the recently released Unreal Engine 5 demo Lumen in the Land of Nanites could be higher than previous generation consoles.
I think, to the extent that the technology enables the graphics side of it to become more interesting and life-like, [the games] will become slightly more human intensive and capital intensive to produce. [There] probably will be an increase in development budgets.
He however stressed that it shouldn’t be too much.
Among his other statements in that chat, Ryan mentioned his desire to see a speedier transition from the PS4 to the PS5 so as to hand over the developers a more fertile install base quickly which could then be monetised against game development. Ryan is hopeful of the higher costs being offset by developing for and selling to a wider install base earlier in the console’s launch cycle.
While Ryan spoke for the PS5, the comments above are likely to apply to the Xbox Series X as well. There’s also the initial learning curve associated with understanding a new system and the possibilities it offers, which is why more optimized games tend to arrive much later in the console’s cycle. This month’s The Last Of Us Part II launching at the tail-end of the PS4’s life is a case in point.
As for gamers, they can only hope this doesn’t result in video game base prices being bumped up or developers relying overtly on micro-transactions, DLCs and overpriced collector editions to recoup their costs.