Video games are big business. In recent years, video games have moved from being a relatively niche-market product to a multi-billion dollar industry. The competition in the video game market is fierce, and game manufacturers are eager to provide the “next big thing” and capture the market. A good game is not a one-time purchase; with the advent of downloadable content, most games have the ability to generate ongoing revenue for the game company. One of the biggest names in gaming over the past few years has been the Halo franchise by Microsoft. These games are science fiction themed first-person shooters. So far, the series has included four main titles, as well as spin-offs.
While the amounts spent on a game such as Halo may seem a bit shocking, it is important to remember how profitable these games are for the companies. Microsoft insider Phil Phencer noted that the Halo franchise is worth around $3 billion to Microsoft and said it is the “most important entertainment product in the company.”
The most recent title in the Halo franchise is Halo 4. It was released November 6, 2012, garnering raves from many game review websites and magazines, and selling $220 Million on launch day alone. As more information has become available about the game creation process—industry experts and insiders from Microsoft have indicated this is the most expensive game in the history of video gaming. According to a Gaming Vogue article, a comment by Microsoft’s Phil Phencer is “nothing comes close” to the cost of producing this impressive game experience.
For the most part, game companies hesitate to release hard numbers in regards to the cost of producing a game such as Halo 4. However, an article published by TG Daily states Halo 3 cost $55 million and Halo 4’s budget dwarfed this. The Halo franchise is not alone in the world of rapidly growing budgets, many other games have followed in this trend. With the success of Halo 4, it is likely other games may wind up easily beating this record over the next few years.
Why So Much?
Why does a game cost so much more today than it did years ago? Well, development costs have risen, with the attention now given to the storyline and increasing cost of technology and graphics. It takes months, if not years, of development for major games, such as Halo 4. However, one of the biggest expenses is promotion. Cinema Blend reports there has been over $100 million spent on promotion alone for Halo 4. Years ago, advertising video games was almost an afterthought, while today it is almost as necessary to have a major promotional campaign for a new video game as it is for a big movie release.
What Do Gamers Get for the Money?
With a game costing this much to produce and market, what do gamers get for their investment? For starters, the game is bigger and more indepth than any others in the franchise. The graphics have been refined and continue to wow both veterans to the game and newcomers. What makes games such a good value is the replayability. Multiplayer mode is where Halo 4 shines, and gamers can easily expect to enjoy dozens of hours of replay-ability.Author: Monty Macgregor A true Scotsman, Monty wears a kilt, can squeeze some mean pipes. His favorite Scot is Sean Connery and he hates whiskey, but loves beer.