People may not want to accept it or believe it, but the video game industry is surpassing the film industry in revenue. While movies have always been seen as the pinnacle of high money industry, that view and mindset has shifted a great deal in the last decade or so. Where once rich old men thought video games were toys for kids with poor attention spans, after the success of games like the Call of Duty franchise and GTA V, those same people are realizing that there are millions upon millions to be made in the gaming industry.
The thing that most of them may not realize when first day dreaming about said industry is the amount of money some of these games cost to produce and make. Think about it in terms of the movies: they’re usually 90-120 minutes, cost 100 million or so to make, and are often expected to bring in five times that. Now if a two hour movie costs one hundred million to make, how much do you think a 50-hour game with hours of dialogue and many elaborate cut scenes costs? As much as some rich people think the gaming industry will make them rich, it can also make them poor if they fund a game that just doesn’t catch fire like it should. Remember, there can be losses in any industry. Don’t make us mention the Atari E.T debacle.
That being said, just to give you an idea of the money going into gaming, here are the ten video games that cost the most to create and release.
10. Tomb Raider (Reboot) – $100 Million
The Tomb Raider reboot was fantastic and with the sequel coming out, it was clearly a smart investment to put some serious money into making the game. There was a new engine, new character design and huge game map with tons to do. It was the first game in the Tomb Raider series where you actually felt like the titular badass.
But that badass feeling came at a cost to developers – one hundred million dollars, to be exact. While it can be said that it’s about the same cost of a decently budgeted Hollywood movie, remember, investing this much on making a game is fairly unheard of.
9. Max Payne 3 – $105 Million
Rockstar does not mess around when it comes to their games, and anyone can see this when they play their gems. In this case, the neo-noir story of Max Payne 3 and its gorgeous locales helped spike the cost of the game up more and more until it finally plateaued at one hundred and five million dollars.
While it may only be five million more than the above mentioned game, five million places it one tier higher. Expect to see Rockstar again on this list – many times, actually. They’re ballers like that.
8. Disney Infinity – $100 Million
This one kind of makes sense: they’re making a game; they’re making toys based around the game; they’re making toys that change and interact with the game. Considering how constantly evolving this type of product is, one can understand why Disney poured a vast fortune into this game.
Plus, seeing the profits shows they made a smart investment, and one that is going to continue to profit as long as this series runs – which, ironically, may end up being for infinity, actually.
7. Too Human – $100 Million
We had to make mention of Too Human because most of the games mentioned on this list led to huge successes for the teams involved, so it makes it look like investing millions in a game will ALWAYS pay off. Too Human stands as a testimony to the complete opposite. $100 million was poured into this ambitious game, only to have it get tied up and not released in time and ultimately fail miserably.
So bad, in fact, the studio that made it had to be shut down. So don’t assume investing in a massive, promising game means anything, because you can still lose it all.
6. Red Dead Redemption – $100 Million
Truth be told, Red Dead Redemption is one of the greatest video games ever made. It would not have been surprising to hear Rockstar put double that cost into this game. A fully realized and open-world old west, just ready for players to do with it as they see fit.
This also stands as a reminder that Rockstar IS the rock star of video game developers and very few companies can come close to even touching them. They invest money in their games but they know what they are doing so the end result ends up being a polished diamond like this game is.
5. Final Fantasy VII – $145 Million
Many gamers fondly recall Final Fantasy VII and the many, many hours they poured into the amazing JRPG. But what many people don’t realize is that it is the console game responsible for bringing in big budget console games.
Before Final Fantasy VII, ten million was a decent number to throw around and still get a decent game (especially for the hardware available at the time) but FFVII cost a mind-blowing one hundred and forty five million dollars to create.
At the time, it was a price that was unheard of. The game has gone on to become a legend, so it was an investment that paid off a hundred times over. The fact that there’s a remake coming proves they did something right and plan on doing at again.
4. Star Wars: The Old Republic – $150-200 Million
God bless them for trying, putting in the right funds in the right series to try and make the epic Star Wars game we have all always wanted. The problem was, even with a rumored $150-200 million put into this game, it wasn’t enough. The game was buggy and broken and often boring for long periods of time.
Unlike most other games on the list, this is one that investors thought about before they just said yes to any developer. It also proves that having the right franchise behind you (Star Wars) will not ensure a perfect end result.
3. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 – $200 Million
At this point in this franchise’s history, you can almost understand why they would invest so much in a Call of Duty game. Let us not forget, this is the game franchise that started bringing in “blockbuster sized move sales” for video games.
This was the game series that made many investors turn their heads away from Hollywood and decide games may be the new premier medium. It also doesn’t hurt that this series has profits in the BILLIONS.
Spending a couple of hundred million means little to them at this point.
2. Grand Theft Auto V – $265 Million
First of all, let it be known that every cent poured into this giant and fully realized world was well worth it. As mentioned before, developer Rockstar do not half-ass anything. And with GTA V, they wanted to make one of the largest, coolest, most realistic open-world any developer had ever made – and they succeeded.
It may have cost them a rumored two hundred sixty million or so, but the end result is one of the greatest video game experiences ever made. And frankly, Hollywood could learn a thing or two from Rockstar at this point.
1. Destiny – $500 Million
It’s such a shame for a game that ended up being so polarizing. But Destiny snags the number one spots for coming in at an insane figure of half a billion dollars.
Yes, Destiny cost half a billion dollars to create.
Don’t get us wrong; you can see that reflected in production values and voice actors and presentation. It’s just a shame that $500 million wasn’t put into a game that was – hate to say it – more entertaining than Destiny. Let the hate mail commence. The Fallen King shall have his revenge.