The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) blocked Microsoft from acquiring Activision Blizzard last Wednesday due to the implications of this acquisition for the cloud gaming market, and the document released along with this decision revealed some details about the growing financial demands behind AAA games.
In a massive report on the decision, the CMA revealed that some major publishers have reported that their AAA games can cost more than $1 billion.
The paper states that Call of Duty has already crossed $300 million in production expenditures alone, a Grand Theft Auto title will likely require a development budget of $200 million or more, and AAA titles presently in development with potential releases in 2024 or 2025 routinely receive development budgets of $200 million or more. A big studio reported a major series development cost of $660 million and a marketing cost of about $550 million. The next step is a development budget of $250 million or more, and when marketing expenditures are taken into account, that number may increase to over $1 billion.
Since the majority of AAA games had budgets between $50 and $150 million five years ago, these prices have significantly increased.
We have to create so much material for Call of Duty that we can’t even rely on one major studio anymore, Activision was quoted as stating in the article. Every year, we require roughly 1.5 large studios for a COD game. Such pressure compels us to outsource more and more. That won’t likely change anytime soon.
The CMA study claims that Nintendo platforms are not “technically capable” of running Call of Duty notwithstanding Microsoft’s confidence in this together with information regarding the quickly rising expenses of developing AAA games.