Developing for Console vs. PC

Which is more expensive to make, market and sell?

Console but the return is greater.

A simple answer is that console games are more expensive to develop because you typically need to buy a dev kits from the platform owner to make a game. With PC games you simply need a PC to develop a game.

I believe that creating stable games is much cheaper on the console because you’re promised (nearly) identical hardware.


In the past that was a bit of an issue, although back in the cartridge days, PC games usually had more content, and generating content costs money.

In this day and age console games cost more because you can afford/need to spend more to keep up with the joneses. There are only room for a handful of profitable PC titles with budgets in excess of $3-$4m. There are very few PC games that are going to score half a million units in worldwide sales. It’s still hard to do on consoles, but many more titles do it.

Dev kits are usually provided by the publisher which recycles them over several projects for the life of the system. It’s not quite a rounding error, but it’s still insignificant when compared to salary costs.

but if you sell the same number of copies for the same price, you will make a LOT more money as a PC game…

Yeah, but that tends to be offset by size of eligible userbase. Eligible on PC means a PC that meets requirements and a user who is savvy enough to be able to install/patch/play the games. Eligibility on the consoles is the number of consoles owned.

[LEFT]Before this turns into another PC vs console debate, anybody have any solid numbers on budgets for titles we can relate to?

How about development costs across game genres?
Costs to port a game from console to PC or vice versa?