Warren Spector Scared Of Next-Gen Costs, Praises Nintendo

Epic Mickey producer Warren Spector has revealed that one of the things he is most worried about when it comes to next-generation consoles is development costs. Spector believes that with development costs soaring, games with higher production values could ultimately fail to break even.

“Honestly? I don’t care much about hardware. Nintendo games are some of the best games in the world and from a more graphical standpoint, the Wii can’t do what a PS3 or 360 can do.”

“It’s about design and not so much about tech for me. Honestly, I’m more scared about what will come next than I am excited.

“Once we can do Pixar-quality graphics rendered in real time with interactivity, I could see games costing $200 million to make and all of a sudden you have to sell a lot of games just to break even, so I’m a little worried someone’s going to do that.

“Someone’s going to spend… well, there are already people spending $100 million on games, that’s not even insane anymore.”

“$200, 300 million games, I’m a little scared about that, there aren’t a lot of companies that have the resources or the courage to spend that much. So my gut’s in a bit of a knot about that but whatever comes along I’ll just make games that work on that platform, I don’t think about hardware too much.

“I think the power of the platforms is outstripping the size of the audience. We can’t charge $150 for a game. And when the best-selling game of all time has sold only 20 million copies, at $60, do the math!

“If you’re spending $200 million on a game and you’re making $60 on 20 million copies sold, oh wait, you’re losing money if you’re the best-selling game of all time basically, right? I don’t know how the business works anymore, that’s the problem.”

“It already takes three years to take a game, when all of a sudden creating assets at an even higher level of quality and animations that are even a higher level of quality, I don’t know how we’re going to do it. We’ll figure it out but right now I’m content where I am.”

82 thoughts on “Warren Spector Scared Of Next-Gen Costs, Praises Nintendo”

  1. Honestly this guy is one of the best. You can tell he is in it for passion and art direction. Crytek and the rest ruin the industry

      1. Yeah right….
        EVERYBODY is in it for the money! Unless if you were rich to begin with, you NEED to make money with it.

    1. i agree with him but the worst part is that it still going to be descent games even if the companies spend 100 millions to get poor sell because bad reviews common that’s mess up there.

    2. He is totally right. We’ve been forced to pay more for movies, games no. It’s all about quality. I still think donkey long jr is amazing, what does that say about graphics?

    3. Warren Spector has always been a brilliant man in the Gaming Industry. I know people hate Peter Molyneux, but he, too, is very passionate about his products rather than ‘Omg I need to make this game a FPS so it sells better’.

      1. i love this guy but i must correct him the best selling console game of all time (super mario bros) sold 40million copies

  2. Now i agree. I like the wii more than ps3 and i have a ps3 and its very good so im just saying the wii is even better than very good

    1. for me the golden age has slightly return with the WII specially the year that DKCR and Mario Galaxy 2 has come at following by the release of Xenoblade and skyward sword, the Golding age is continuing with 3DS, it even shine Brighter now!

  3. Hopefully all goes well for Nintendo and all fellow game companies. I don’t want smartphones taking over the world.

    The big 3 need to stay (Ninty, Sony, and Microsoft or Ninty, Sega, etc.).

    1. i agree that 3 have to stay ninty will forever hold a place in gaming as they are the innovators the brought out the shoulder buttons on snes they brought us 3D graphics with n64 with rumble pack! now analog sticks im not sure if
      anything it actually belongs to the atari with the joystick. dual analogs goes to PS1 but the Ps1 was originally
      designed for ninty! they have now brought us motion control ! So ninty is here for keeps but only have say 2 competing consoles doesnt give enough diversity to todays gaming culture and having say 5 consoles is just way too much. (Why i think Steambox rumour wont happen) 3 is just right :) now all this fanboyism can suck donkey dick as most of the games fanboys buy are available on all platforms. you have the true dedicated fans who will always buy the next mario or zelda, halo or PGR, Infamous or Gran turismo and my experience these guys won’t troll they will actually have more than 1 console maybe all 3 they just prefer what they like and don’t go spreading shit about how ninty is going to fail or sony is in financial trouble etc hmm ok rant over xD

      1. In the end, the only people that can benefit from competition in the market place is us consumers. This post is the most truthful I’ve heard in a while, and I was halfway considering unsubscribing until I read this.

  4. @Scanimal said it just about right. One day will be able to afford the best possible games, but right now we can’t. This is the very reason that Nintendo will dominate next gen. They’ll be innovative while Sony and MS will only have a little bit better consoles, with no new features.

    1. Actually ms may be the only one there i have been hearing many innovative things about ps 4 / orbis but we never know

      1. First thing I saw is that Sony president would rather focus on the current gen than move on to the next Gen, and then a few weeks later there are rumors about Orbis.
        Honestly, I believe in the first part more. I think Sony can’t afford to put all this money into a new system after the massive hit they took, so I can’t really see that they’ve added innovative ideas. I don’t really think they have anything.

  5. Things get cheaper to make. The 10 year life span of the Ps3 is correct. By that time, the power needed to make games look better on new consoles will cost almost the same, if not a little more then it originally did for the previous console. The power behind the console isn’t the only thing that will be improving, the way to make games will as well. However, I agree, the game needs to be good, visuals atm, at the current Xbox360 and Ps3 levels are good, very good, I could survive playing games of those visuals for several more years. Give me good story and mechanics and keep games of those pretty visuals coming!

    1. Hardware gets cheaper; physical products get cheaper; creating art is never cheap.

      No matter how cheap and powerful the hardware becomes, you still need to pay artists to create art good enough for it.

      1. + 1,000,000

        and this actually scares me, because home console games ARE going to get more expensive to make, specialy if the standard for Resolution goes up again. Yes, clearly games like angry birds will be at par with pixar qualitygraphics

        1. (cont…) but since the physics aren’t as in depth like, GoW, Skyrim, or Zeld, the development cost wont be as much. HD consoles games on the other hand, will probably (like he said) just break even. I don’t even want to imagine another crash.

          I fucking hate graphic Whores

  6. Finally someone with some sense. The hardware doesn’t matter, it the passion you put into your projects. Youy can tell the guys who have actual passion for games by the way they talk about them. Warren and the people of Nintendo love games more than they love making money. This attitude is what makes Nintendo the best in the industry.

    A lot of the others are just in it for the money. Trying to squeeze out every dime they can from the gamers. Leave luck to heaven.

      1. Are you saying Nintendo milks their franchises? How so? Nintendo has over 20 years in the industry, it’s obvious that they would have some franchises that have stuck and people would be looking forward to on their platforms.

        Getting one new Mario and Zelda game for every console Nintendo makes is not milking. Getting a new COD every year is milking.

        1. NO not nintendo, 3rd parties like cod is an example, omg the whole time i was talking about 3rd parties and you think i was taking bad to nintendo. ( sorry i was not clear enouf).

            1. Its the power of a post thats actually fare and clear! If only this would keep up on this website, I’d be more inclined to visit more often. By the way, I love your post too, they are always well written and polite. Plus, not many know the true meaning of “nintendo” :)

  7. Finally, someone says it in a way others can understand well. I try and try to explain it to people, but I guess i’m just bad at it. Now something I can quote from a reliable source.

  8. I completely agree, its not all about the hardware (contrary to popular belief). The games are really what matters and charging $80-$90 for 1 game would be ridiculous! I still remember the days when you could buy Guitar Hero for about $80 and that was expensive compared to the price of regular games at $30-$40! And now games are up to $60 for one game. As the prices for consoles increase, so does the price per game… If the gaming industry continues to push me for my money, there are other ways to play their games… let’s just leave it at that kids.

    1. dont forget $60 + DLC (ripoff) that supposedly in the Disc already.
      Crytek, EA, Activision, Capcom are going to ruin this industry

    1. YES! Someone else on here actually did the math. They aren’t losing money, Spector did his math wrong. I agree with most of what he’s saying but his math that’s supposed to be backing up his words is completely wrong.

    2. just remember that not everyone will buy new developers hate that gamers can buy second hand so a game that cost 60 dollars a piece second hand may only be 25 dollars and thats on one unit the devs wont see the full 85 dollars places like game in the uk will keep that and just reuse the second hand games that come in after a week of use bringing the stock ordering down lower than normal

    3. You have to remember how much money is spent paying dozens ( if not hundreds ) of staff over the course of 2-3 years, marketing, production, shipping, retail etc… and the fact that they don’t see all the money per sale. Some people don’t have an outside publisher to back them up. I’m not saying that a company can’t make money on 20 million sales, but you have to understand his point

    4. okay, so i’m not the only one who wondered where this guy learned math from. 1.2b in revenue over a 200m cost is a 600% profit. i’d say they did pretty good.

      on the other hand, i do agree with many of his points. just not his math.

      1. I was wondering that myself. The math was wrong here. Aside from that, I do agree with him, and it’s something I’ve thought a lot of myself.

  9. Warren truly brings the epicness when it comes to making great games… especially Epic Mickey 1 and 2 on the original Wii. Junction Point (Disney) rules!!!!!

  10. actually during the 16 bit era some games were 80 bucks a peice so its nothing new to charge over 60 for a game. however epic mickey aside, (being as ive never played it but am in the look to buy both), games like, call of duty, modern warfare, final fantasy etc, all lost substance when they went for eye candy appeal.

    1. I paid $120 for chrono trigger with the map back then. Worth every penny lol.

      In all the history of gaming ONE company did manage to make a name and a profit selling games for $300+, the NeoGeo. Thing is though, it offered a true arcade experience at home, something no other system could do at that time. No system released today could outdo the others by that same degree that it did. And the cost was mostly from fitting CD sized games on cartidge; Space was much more expensive then. 300mb cart doesn’t sound like much by todays standards, but in 1995 my hard drive was barely bigger than that (500mb), and it wasn’t on super fast chips. Also, it DID have awesome art teams, and some still impressive today 2d graphics.

  11. This is the reason why the DS/3DS get’s a lot of fun and quirky little games. Developers don’t need to spend 100+ million on a game to sell on Nintendo systems. Sony can brag about all the power of the Vita as they report losses in the billions if that’s what they want but I’m sure Nintendo isn’t concerned about how the 3DS stands up in specs

  12. Well said, but the best-selling games of all time sold quite a bit more than 20 million copies. Even the best selling titles of this generation like New Super Mario Bros. Wii sold over 25 million copies (and that probably cost about a hundred bucks to develop).

    1. 3rd party games don’t really make that much, Yes CoD, Just Dance, and a few other 3rd Party games Sell a Crapload, but the rest rarely see that 20 mill land mark. The 1st Epic Mickey is just bearly reaching the 3 Million unit mark, at 50, that’s only 150 mill. Now Divide that up with all the expensed, and maybe there just breaking even (hell I got epic mickey for 15

  13. not a worry for nintendo though watch out for microsony cause you know their next console is going to be some super beast which will probably force developers to high up the cost of their games and having gamers spend some brutal $70+ for one game. in this economy that’s horror!

  14. I gotta agree with Warren on this. The state of next-gen does scare me. I mean sure we all can pretty much predict that Microsoft and Sony are going to try and outdo Nintendo in the graphics and power department but at what cost? Will developers want to make games on their systems if they lose money on the games they make? I think not. I think Nintendo’s strategy has been the most helpful for the industry and I will continue to support Nintendo for the generations to come.

  15. That right Warren Spector Follow Nintendo. Miyamoto, Reggie, and Iwata will support your position. Drop the support for PS360 for Epic Mickey 2 because it won’t sell.

    1. He can’t I mean he does work for a company with shareholders who see more money in selling on 3 consoles but he paid Nintendo respect by making it the lead console.

  16. Don’t forget, he was behind the System Shock game as well as Deus Ex. You want a dude who can recognize good gaming, you can’t go much farther than him.

    I get the feeling he and most other developers are practically bursting out of the NDA with things they want to say. It’s getting to crunch time, so I guess even they would be UNDAH PRESSAH!

  17. Ok the developers need to stop with this graphical bullshit and focus on the game play of the game ….and warren spector has just earned some respect from me…….The graphics right now are good enough they need to stop improving them ..their games ……not animations or movies ….. developers need to understand this or their games wont sell …but Nintendo is my favorite game company because they understand graphics aren’t important …. These Graphic whores are killing gaming …….

  18. Not just graphic whores; smartphone gamers too :(
    I agree that gameplay is the best and that’s way Nintendo has been the best gaming company since the 1980′s. :) Go Nintendo

  19. Nintendo has its unique magic that makes videogames enticing and fun even after several years. After playing Mass Effect 3 for 3 days in a row, I had this unknown urge to grab my Pikmin 2 and beat it. Why Pikmin 2, from all the games I still have to play? I don’t know, it just popped on my head…
    Well, the point is: Nintendo makes incredible videogames. And I think the main secret of them is that they KNOW they’re producing a videogame. Let’s be honest folks, nowadays games like ME3, Modern Warfare, Uncharted and Skyrim are used just as a form of promoting other products. They do the game without thinking that they’re doing a game, but intending to sell something else (a band that made the OST of the game, for example). Maybe I’m talking shit, but I’ve never seen another product from Nintendo selling more than their videogames. I really wished Nintendo would keep up focusing more on the fun, and not on merchandising.

    1. I dissagree, I feel like Nintendo Caters to Everyone, that’s why Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Ect. are so Loved and not easily forgotten. Sony/Microsoft and their Devs Try to cater to a specific Group, mostly the fickle fan, that’s why their mascots don’t last long. I love me some uncharted but I’ve met a lot of Sony fanboys who have never even played it.

  20. Exactly, when was the last time you heard someone really enjoying a game on the Xbox 360 or PS3? Though I have a PS3, I find myself using it more to watch videos than playing games, with some new games I’ve bought never even opened (sad, really). Because even though Sony, Sega and Microsoft once had the jump on the Big ‘N’ when it came to hardware, the software ended up heavily lacking. And when you think about it, the Wii’s selling point was not the motion control, but the fact one could play classic games of yesteryear. The reason why Mario, Link and Samus have stood the test of time is the fact, their games are fun and don’t necessarily rely heavily on graphics and technology. Tho’ it does help, it’s not the sole core of their gaming. Think how Sony and Microsoft could dominate the field if they utilized fun in their gaming than focusing on the tech aspect of it.

  21. i do enjoy ps3 but those games i never play anymore afer i beat it except metal gear solid and kingdom hearts becuase just….you never fee the urge again to replay it

  22. It’s pretty spectacular that a game developer of Warren Spector’s stature who developers for a totally different company openly stated Nintendo makes the best games.

    He just earned a lot of respect from me.

  23. I agree with everything Warren says here, except his math for his example. I think either he or the original publisher made a mistake somewhere, because 20 million games sold at $60 each is $1.2 billion–the game developers would be making back sixfold what they spent on developing the game. Also, I’m sure the highest-selling game of all time was more than 20 million. But those minor details aside, I agree with his points, and I’ve said this myself last year.

    I think his points are exactly why the Wii U just might become the developer’s choice. Affordable and manageable game production, affordable game consumption, and an emphasis on design with visuals that aren’t absolute cutting-edge but aren’t anything to complain about either. In fact, I think we might see that Microsoft and Sony won’t even provide cutting-edge consoles themselves, because the problem’s getting obvious to themselves, to developers and to consumers alike now. We’re all finding ourselves having to find “a beautiful enough.”

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