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Marvelous caps 3DS game development at $1.8M per title


During a recent investor call, Marvelous Entertainment, the publisher best known for its Harvest Moon games, revealed its budget range for 3DS game development. According to the transcription of the call's Q&A session (as translated by 1UP), a Marvelous representative said that, "while costs vary based on game content," the company would spend an estimated ¥50 million to ¥150 million ($600K to $1.8M) on the development of a single 3DS game. Currently, Marvelous has two 3DS projects in the works, a Harvest Moon game and a zoo sim called Animal Resort.

Not surprisingly, Marvelous' 3DS spending money is significantly higher than the ¥4.4 million to ¥43.9 million per title (roughly $50K–525K) Japanese companies spent on developing (regular) DS games last year, according to data gathered by TGS sponsor and promotional organization CESA. More interestingly, Marvelous' ¥150-million cap for a 3DS game represents a figure more than double the cost of the last year's most expensive Japanese PSP title, which, while unnamed, cost ¥59.2 million to develop by CESA's account. (The cheapest PSP game cost its maker just ¥3 million.)

If Marvelous' budget is indicative of other companies' 3DS game costs -- and, certainly, some of these guys are likely to splurge -- then developing for the platform could prove more expensive than for Wii, where last year's most expensive Japanese project topped out at ¥116 million. In an era when budget gaming is dominating the handheld market, and following the disastrous combination of costly PSP game development and rampant piracy, the 3DS could be as ill-fated as the 3D technology that requires you to wear glasses.

Well, that, or it'll just "print money" ... in 3D.

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