What era was the sweet spot for games standard and development costs

As a more of a casual gamer, I want to preface this with to the more hardcore knowledgeable types I may sound like I’m talking gibberish

But I’m only talking from my perspective, yours may be very different.

With the recent in delays in mind and the length of time it’s taking Xbox’s studios to begin kicking games out on a regularly basis. When do you believe the sweet spot was between pushing the technology for satisfying game and the length of time developing games was.

In my opinion it was the ps2, Xbox, Gamecube and early 360, ps3 era’s.

An example would be the GTA games from gta 3 and San Andreas was 3/4 years & these were AAA games of the time.

Obviously graphically and size of games they have much improved in today’s games. But if you back then for the time the graphics were fine. When you compared the cost of actually developing the games and time 4/5/6 years nowadays do you think this actually is works as a detriment to the platform as the delays recently have shown.

In addition to this back in the og xbox, ps2 Gamecube. Because the cost of development wasn’t as high, it meant that more chances could be taken with games and more variety.

For example those mid tier games arcadey type sports games like nba jam, nfl blitz, fifa street fell away as well as many other genres as publishers only really want bankable franchises.

Instead back then you could take chances and it may or may not become a hit but it wasn’t a crippling cost.

I read a list recently of game studios/publishers that have died and the majority of them were from 2010 on.

So are the costs now too much for it to be sustainable.


PS1/2 era easily, we got FF7/8/9/X all within 4 years, 4 YEARS


This is probably right, or the 16-bit era.

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ps2 era

Personally I’d argue the 360 era. Still “low tech” enough that we could get two expansive games like Oblivion and Skyrim within the same generation, but with graphics and controls that still hold up fairly well today, compared to much of the output in the previous couple of gens.

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The Xbox 360 generation. When 2-3 years was a reasonable timeframe for the next entry in AAA franchises.

Just for one example, there were only two years between Assassin’s Creed and Assassin’s Creed 2, and AC2 was not some copy-and-paste job either, it expanded and innovated on its predecessor in significant ways.

Now it’s like, oh you enjoyed this AAA game? Cool, come back in 5 years and if you’re lucky, maybe you get more. Major series are releasing one entry per console generation and it’s only getting worse. I don’t think that’s an acceptable situation.


6th gen (PS2/Xbox/Gamecube). Early 7th gen can apply too but this is when really obscure developers started dropping like flies.

It’s foolish that AAA games take like 6+ years to make nowadays. It pretty much means no risks are allowed and it’s how companies like Ubisoft fell into making a single homogenized game for everything they output.


For me, it would be the 7th generation. Xbox 360/PlayStation 3. Even though I didn’t play them until later on, Gears 1-3 were released in a 5 year span. Uncharted 1-3 were released in a four year span. I’m getting 9+ rated games in this time span? Yes please.

The biggest issue nowadays with games is that the publishers/developers want their open world games to be as big as planet Earth itself which is why they take so damn long. I don’t mind a massive 200 hour open world game but I don’t need/want every game like that. One or two a year is perfect. A few 50 hour open world games that are simply smaller in scope and then a few 20 hour more linear based games and im good.

Plus, they wouldn’t take 5+ years to develop. The more tech advances, the bigger the games and their respective budgets will get.


I think there’s a tipping point somewhere in the future, where we’ll see developer tools and AI get so good that games will start taking less effort than what we’re currently seeing.


I agree with games taking less effort but I don’t think that would decrease the budgets or size of the games. Look at games now where they reuse assets repeatedly and games still take 5+ years. Imagine if no game reused assets. A brand new IP built from the ground up without reusing assets from other games would probably take 7+ years. Even Indie games can take 5+ years. My friend is still waiting to see Playdead’s next game.

I think 6th gen (DC/PS2/GC/XBOX) which is still my favorite generation. So many good games, all 4 systems were amazing, development didn’t took forever, games didn’t have to sell 5-6m to be successful, we didn’t bitch about 8-10 hour games (replay value was a thing back then) and devs/publishers took risks that resulted in some really cool games/concepts.


Yeah it’s getting a bit silly. Games are not really better nowadays either, unless it’s once a generation behemoths like Red Dead Redemption 2 maybe but those are exceptions.

I think the present day is still the best, you just should value indie games or games with smaller budgets more than AAAA ones. Indies today are better than AAA games from 2010 or whenever. The really good classic games often inspire indie games that approve on the core gameplay instead of big budget games which just add mocap and a bad story.

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It’s pretty difficult to find a fantastic indie, its like finding a needle in a haystack.

I agree with you that today the industry is at its peak with so many cool and well made games coming constantly from everywhere, but this thread is clearly about development times and budgets.

That’s close to my thoughts, where my answer is “next-gen” will be the sweet spot. That is after even further advancements in game engines and content creation pipelines. That will further reduce the time to market and cost of development.

Yup, that’s kind of my point though. There are gamecube or PS2 or OG Xbox ratios of dev time:cost that still exist today. Since the industry is more mature, you have more diversity instead of just AAA devs slowly raising the ceiling on cost over the past two decades.

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Adding further to my original post

And again this is probably because I’m not as hardcore as most but I miss when we’d get movie tie in games ( I know many think there weren’t many that were actually good) but as costs weren’t crazy and and didn’t take as long there were more games out there.

Maybe it’s nostalgia and I was never interested in what platform had what exclusives really it was just plenty of games coming out for every console form loads of different studios and some would hit and some would miss but it was never oh this is years away it would be announced and released in no time

Came across this, i agree with a lot of it.

The list of games that came out in 2001 was great

I didn’t watch the video but I can tell you that 2001 was the year Sega died. Not a good year in gaming for that reason alone.