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factfile1.10 Digital Media for Entertainment 2

Computer Games

Grand Theft Auto image used with permissionComputer games are becoming increasingly expensive to make, requiring bigger and bigger teams of people to create the graphics, make the music, design and then play test the levels. They can cost almost as much to make as a feature length movie!

Some games even make use of digital video with actors being used to film cut scenes between levels, which requires a set and props, which adds to the cost. Even replacing actors with computer-generated characters will still take a lot of time and cost a lot of money to produce. The average console game will take a team of 40 staff roughly 18 months to develop.

Computer games are no longer just entertainment for children. The average age of a video game buyer is now around the late twenties to early thirties. It is thought that worldwide sales of video games and related hardware in 2010 were a massive $66 billion and analysts predict it will top $80 billion by 2016 (source). You can see why games developers are keen to get a slice of the market.

For example: the video game "Grand Theft Auto IV" cost Rockstar Games around £50 million to make. This is a lot of money to invest in a computer game. Fortunately it was a very popular game and it sold 3.6 million units worldwide on its opening day and 6 million in its first week. As of September 2011, the game had sold over 22 million copies grossing over £300 million.

Most games won't sell this many copies, and bad sales can leave a games company with a major financial problem.

Did you know? By the end of 2011 the highest grossing video game over its first 5 days of release was "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3" which took £490 million. By comparison the highest grossing movie over 5 days is "Batman : The Dark Knight" which took £120 million. (source)

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