PlayStation fans have been eating well throughout the PlayStation 4 generation, with a variety of exclusive, singleplayer titles. Spider-Man, God Of War, The Last Of Us and Uncharted are just some of the AAA, big-budget experiences that PlayStation 4 players get to enjoy.
Former PlayStation Worldwide Studios Head Doesn’t Think Current AA Games Model Is Sustainable
However, former PlayStation executive Shawn Layden thinks that the way the AAA gaming industry currently functions isn’t sustainable. He mentioned this at Gamelab Live, where he is one of the speakers. The reason why he thinks it is unsustainable is very simple. Games are getting more expensive to make, yet their price point hasn’t changed in decades.
According to gamesindustry.biz, the budgets for games in the PlayStation 4 era range from $80 to $150 million. The production process can also take around five years in total. Despite this, video games have continued to cost the same as they used to be.
Video Game Budgets Aren’t Likely To Come Down In The PlayStation 5 Era
“It’s been $59.99 since I started in this business, but the cost of games have gone up ten times. If you don’t have elasticity on the price-point, but you have huge volatility on the cost line, the model becomes more difficult,” said Layden.
He also doesn’t think this problem goes away once the PlayStation 5 arrives onto the scene. If anything, the power that these next-gen consoles are packing will lead to even more ambitious and expensive games. “4K, HDR art and creating worlds don’t come cheap,” he said.
PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X May See Shorter AAA Titles
So, what’s the solution to these rising costs? Shawn Layden thinks a return to shorter, more focused AAA experiences might become necessary for them to stay profitable. “Instead of spending five years making an 80 hour game, what does three years and a 15 hour game look like? What would be the cost around that? Is that a full-throated experience?”, he said.
I’m a bit torn on this issue. On the one hand, I don’t want prices for video games to go up. $60 for a full-priced game is still quite an investment. If I’m paying that much, I want to get good value for it. At the same time, I don’t want video game creators limited in what they can do.
This is a complicated issue, and it should be interesting to see how it plays out in the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X era.