The Towering Budgets and Profits of Videogames

A long line of customers wait to purchase Grand Theft Auto V upon its release
A long line of customers wait to purchase Grand Theft Auto V upon its release in the United Kingdom

When one reflects upon the incredible advance of computer graphics in the past twenty years, he must recognize the escalating budgets of videogames. Though Moore’s law is partially responsible for this change in videogames, the increasing professionalism of the industry also contributes to the soaring costs of videogame development. Voice actors have risen to stardom and now earn generous salaries (the top three male voice actors have net worths of over $4 million.)

Despite Grand Theft Auto V’s rumored budget of $265 million and the immense controversy surrounding the Grand Theft Auto series, the game earned $800 million on its first day. Although videogame budgets often include marketing costs, making it difficult to compare to the film industry (which usually only includes the cost of producing the movie), several films have surpassed the $250 million benchmark, even disregarding inflation. However, the largest box office for a film’s opening weekend is $504 million (adjusted for inflation). Although it may be easier to buy a videogame than to attend a showing at a cinema, the difference in profit for videogames and films is remarkable.

Will videogames one day grow more popular than films? Does the recent rise of DVD-kiosk retailers, such as Redbox, truly make videogames monetarily accessible for gamers of the middle and working classes? While the future generations of Brad Pitts and Jennifer Annistons be voice actors in videogames instead of Hollywood actors?

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