According to Shawn Layden, a former PlayStation executive, the gaming industry might have change the business model in regards of AAA games as the current approach is “not sustainable”.
Shawn Layden took part in the digital version of GameLab Live conference, he explains that big AAA studios are on a trend of producing bigger and more expensive games, the problem lies in the the unified $60 cost of a game, something that has not changed in decades.
However, Layden thinks that the way to overcome the situation is to go back to 15-20 hours games, or perhaps just raise the retail value of a next-gen game.
“Personally, as an older gamer… I would welcome a return to the 12 to 15 hour [AAA] game,” Layden remarked. “I would finish more games, first of all, and just like a well-edited piece of literature or a movie, looking at the discipline around that could give us tighter, more compelling content.”
“Going into the next generation, not only is that an important role in management… It’s also, perhaps, really evaluating what we can continue to put into games — at what cost can you continue to create these games?”
“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. I think this generation is going to see those two imperatives collide.”
Layden also explains that producing games in 4K HDR, is very expensive, added to the now extensive open world games, studios relies on how much work can one employee do, he points at the only way to keep production costs, development time and retail value low is just to make shorter games, more compact stories.
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?
“Personally, as an older gamer… I would welcome a return to the 12 to 15 hour [AAA] game. I would finish more games, first of all, and just like a well edited piece of literature or a movie, looking at the discipline around that could give us tighter, more compelling content.