Dev. Costs Leave Dev's Leery of PS3

The PS3,s weak showing at last week’s E3 convention may have led to a ripple effect, as developers are becoming somewhat leery of committing time and resources to support the PS3.

According to a report from Bloomberg, a great deal of this anxiety has to do with Sony,s failure to release the final technical details of the PS3. In addition, Sony has just delivered the crucial dev-kits to developers just this month. In the game industry, dev-kits are the precursors of the final game machines and are instrumental in programming games. Customarily, these kits are made available to developers at least a year or more in advance of the real launch date of the real hardware. With the extremely late arrival of dev-kits in May, this only gives developers a scant six months to grind out games for the PS3.

THQ indicated that although it was planning to develop a tie-in game based upon “The Sopranos” television program, they opted out of the project because they didn,t have the final specifications from Sony on the PS3. Brian Farrell, CEO of THQ said, “It was too risky to do it. It made no sense.’

Simon Jeffrey, of Sega of America commented that the first batch of games for the PS3 may be lacking because of Sony,s ill-timed release of the crucial dev-kits. Jeffery said, “A lot of developers have not gotten the kits. There certainly will not be a lot of titles available.’

Upon the announcement earlier this year by Sony of their late delivery of dev-kits, GamerNode immediately sounded the warning bell by reporting that the late kits would seriously undermine, if not cripple, Sony,s first wave of next-gen video games; there simply would not be enough time for game comapnies to develop quality products.

The reality of the situation has come and Sony finds itself in more hot water as developers decide not to develop for the machine for lack of time. But game developers have other concerns as well.

According to Mike Hickey, an analyst for Janco Partners, “Developing for Sony’s platform is incrementally more complex than what you’re looking at for Microsoft or Nintendo. With costs that could go over $25 million a game, you’re not seeing third-party content where it needs to be at this stage to have a successful launch.’

The numbers say it all. The going prices of dev-kits, which are sold directly to developers, are usually in the $10,000+ range. The PS3 dev-kit has been reported to be as high as $20,000 per unit. But news has surfaced that Nintendo dev-kits are going for a mere $2,000. This low cost will pull in a substantial avalanche of third party developers who otherwise, could never dream of developing for a big game company. But with Sony,s huge buy-in price, some companies are having second thoughts in fully committing to the machine.

However, not all game companies were so negative on Sony. EA and Ubisoft indicated that they were satisfied. CEO Yves Guillemot said, “We won’t be able to take advantage of all the components of the machine, but it was the same last year. It’s a challenge for the publishers.’

With the PS3,s launch date looming just around the corner, the race to beat the clock may have already taken its toll.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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