Throughout this generation, Xbox has had a limited number of first-party games that take a considerable amount of time to develop. Xbox head Matt Booty has addressed this situation.
In an interview with Axios, the Xbox Game Studios head discussed the development cycles of AAA games in this generation. He stated that even though the fans do not realize it, the era of games taking 2-3 years to develop is over.
Why It Matters: Many fans have been disappointed with the development cycle of AAA games, and addressing this issue helps create realistic expectations among them.
Matt Booty said:
“I think that the industry and the fans were a little behind the curve on sort of a reset to understand that games aren’t two or three years anymore,”
He further said to expect a development cycle of 5-6 years before a AAA game release
“They’re four and five and six years.”
This is not surprising with the scope of AAA games in this generation. They are vast, and there are numerous complications during development, such as maintaining performance and fidelity on a large-scale project.
Their large scale means more development time and higher development budgets. Previously, CMA claimed that the budget of AAA games can go up to $1 billion. This is also one of the reasons many AAA games these days cost $70, $10 more than the previous generation.
A recent AAA release, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, took roughly three years to develop. While the core game was impressive, it ended up being a broken launch across all platforms. Therefore, it could have used a few more months or an extra year of development.
In some cases, games on an even larger scale, such as Starfield, the upcoming Xbox-exclusive RPG, have been in development for several years and show how long and complex AAA game development can get.
Xbox was previously disappointed with the state of its first-party games. This could be attributed to the limited number of first-party studios available for game development and the challenge of releasing games consistently in smaller time windows.
However, the gaming giant has since acquired many studios and is on track to purchase even more, thus increasing the number of first-party developers. Xbox is now aiming to release four first-party titles each year.
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