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Should AAA Developers Follow in Disney's Footsteps?

  • Public Relations Office
  • By Public Relations Office

Over the last decade of major releases, public opinion of AAA game developers has dropped significantly. Loot crates, game-completing paid DLC, and recent titles starting at $70USD have all been met with vast criticism, yet companies have maintained their courses and continued with these practices. The developers have expressed that the cost of game development has risen sharply during this same time period, which necessitates that they charge more for the same levels of content. 


As developers struggle to release finished games, one has to wonder what they are doing wrong. A recent interview with Disney CEO Robert Iger opened our eyes to greater issues throughout the entertainment industry as a whole. With the increasing rates of production for both the Marvel and Star Wars brands, Iger has publicly recognized that the excess spending on new content is taking a massive toll on the company’s profits.


“I’m really pleased that the support that I’m getting from the content creators of the company is significant and real, and it comes in the form of reducing the expense per content, whether it’s a TV series or a film, where costs have just skyrocketed in a huge way and not a supportable way in my opinion. They all agree to that,” he said at a Morgan Stanley Conference.


It would seem that the incredible budgets allotted to recent Disney productions are not consistently producing adequate returns, which has led the CEO to question the recent spending habits on CGI and other effects. Thinking back on how this may relate to the game development industry, there might be a few valuable takeaways.


“Cyberpunk 2077” was released in a state that was widely regarded as sub-standard for the same studio that produced “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt”. While the game was absolutely gorgeous, widely diverse, and highly customizable, the technical issues were impactful enough for many buyers to put their controllers down and request refunds.


How does a well-renowned game studio disappoint with a high-budget, highly-anticipated game launch? Perhaps, like Disney, they were devoting too many resources towards excess features. While the game might be visually stunning, there is little value to graphics that the average gamer’s console or computer cannot run properly. These graphics also create a sort of gilding effect when players are being thrown by their own vehicles, watching NPCs disappear, and struggling to bypass unfinishable missions. Perhaps a reallocation of development resources would improve the overall quality of finished products.


Would it be beneficial for AAA studios like CD Projekt RED, Bethesda, Bioware, and DICE to consider toning down their effects and visuals in exchange for reduced technical flaws, expanded stories, and lower costs? Let us know what you think!

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