At the end of March 2011, the studio reported a profit of £3.44 million ($5.3 million) for the year prior, yet spent £4.1 million ($6.3 million) over those 12 months on research and development, according to a report obtained by Develop. Media Molecule is striving to "remain at the forefront of technological advances" and "must bring new and often risky innovations to market in products of the highest quality," the report cites.
In layman's terms, the report is saying MM spent a ton of cash researching new tech. These include "leading edge physics and dynamics, rapid world creation from laser data, innovative routes to market via web based interfaces, 3D stereo-optics for advanced simulation, and use of 'hi-def' data capture and processing techniques." But with 50 people on staff during the period of reported expenditure, that comes out to £82,000 ($126,000) a head -- it's not unheard of for development studios to classify game development as research and development.
So how much of the money was used to pay its employees and specifically explore innovative new things? Without the report, we can't say for sure. It's possible this is simply a report of how much MM paid its employees for the year, a possible obligation for all UK business entities.