Developing games is a costly business and as developers are finding out, making games for the Nintendo 3DS will come with a premium.
At least that's the opinion of Marvelous Entertainment, creators of the Harvest Moon franchise. During a recent Q&A session they revealed that the true cost of developing for the Nintendo 3DS lies between $600,000 and $1.8million USD per game.To put this in context (Using data collected by CESA), developing games for the Nintendo DS came in at a maximum of $527,000 during 2009, while games for the more powerful, less adopted PSP measured in at $710,000. If true, this represents an almost three fold increase in the cost to publishers for making top end games on the forthcoming Nintendo handheld. Compare these figures to those of the home consoles, where developing games for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 can cost as much as $3 million.
Why is this so important? In this reporters opinion, it could be argued that this inevitably means the retail price of the Nintendo 3DS games will be higher than those of Nintendo DS games. The increased cost of developing games means that handheld gaming will become more expensive and thus closer to what we expect of console games. It may also put developers off trying new ideas with the console. If it costs so much to make games, there may be more pressure to appeal to the wider market, meaning niche titles may not be given priority.
Game Rant's in-depth hands-on with the Nintendo 3DS revealed a high quality among the showcased games. With Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D, Paper Mario 3DS and Kid Icarus: Uprising leading the charge, the increased costs are least showing in the quality of the games.
The Q&A session also revealed the existence of two new games for the Nintendo 3DS. One of these is a new Harvest Moon game for the Nintendo 3DS, though no further information was provided at the time of writing. The other is a game entitled Animal Resort. Both titles are listed on Marvelous Entertainment's official Japanese website at the current time.
Ranters, will you be willing to pay extra for 3DS games? Given the success of such low-cost iPhone games as Cut the Rope, do you think increasing the price of handheld games is a wise move?
The Nintendo 3DS releases February 26, 2011, in Japan. A North American release is expected in March of 2011.