The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X are set to release this year, kicking off the next generation of consoles, and our first look at what the PS5 will be capable of came from a demonstration of Unreal Engine 5. But producing such highly detailed graphics will not come cheap, and could lead to an increase in the development cost of AAA games.
Sony Interactive Entertainment president and CEO Jim Ryan has talked to gamesindustry.biz about the cost of creating a game that will look like the Unreal Engine 5 reveal video, “Lumen in the Land of Nanite” (see our breakdown below), will cost a lot.
“I think, to the extent that the technology enables the graphics side of it to become more interesting and life-like, [the games] will become slightly more human intensive and capital intensive to produce,” Ryan told the site, noting that there will “probably will be an increase in development budgets.” However, he doesn’t expect these changes to be too extreme. “We don’t see it as being a massive increase,” he says.
Sony has previously said that it wants to see a faster shift between console generations than we’ve seen previously, and Ryan says that this is so they can “provide a fertile install base for people who make games to be able to monetise against.” Ryan hopes that the high cost of development will be made up by the system’s early adopters buying these games. “If we can keep pace with a likely increase in development costs, then the industry can continue to prosper,” he says.
While Ryan is talking about the PlayStation 5 specifically, his comments are likely to be applicable to the Xbox Series X as well–we recently got a first look at games running on Series X.