Now we are reaching a decade which is very familiar to my generation, the 2000s (naughties). Just like the 1990s we see a massive change in technology and innovation. We also see discover how costly game development has become,with some development budgets rivalling film development.
The naughties started with a bang. The follow up console of the original Playstation is launched, the Playstation 2 (released in March 2000). Which has become the best selling console of all time, racking in an impressive 150 million units sold world wide as of January 2011. A year later (November 2001 to be precise) came the PS2s main competitor, the Microsoft Xbox . This was Microsoft first try with a home console, and it did well, very well. Its launch success can mainly be put down to the impressive launch titles, mainly Halo : Combat Evolved which has now developed into a monumental earner for Microsoft. Nintendo also launched their console, the Gamecube, But it couldnt touch the success of the PS2 or Xbox.
This decade also saw the battle of the handhelds, with the release of the Nintendo Game boy Advance (released 2001), then being redesigned into the GBA SP 2 years later. Then as a little as a year little Nintendo release the DS, a very innovative bit of kit with its touch and dual screens, With Nintendo trying to milk as much money from this as possible they released a smaller (DS Lite) and later a bigger version (XL). Sony decide to jump on the band wagon and tried to compete with its Playstation Portable, although a success it couldnt touch Nintendos market share with the DS.
In the mid 2000s we saw another battle with the “Next Generation” range of consoles. Microsoft release the Xbox 360, Nintendo with the Wii and Sony with the Playstation 3. The Wii was an unpredictable hit, being sold out for 18 months straight. Nintendo got this success by targeting casual gamers with its innovative “Wiimote”, and it worked well. Very well.
Some amazing games were released in the naughties, some which I and many other gamers have played to death. We have Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, proving that games can also be interactive films with a total cut scene length of over 5 hours. Impressive. Other genre defining games from this decades are : Call of Duty 4; World Of Warcraft; GTA: San Andreas; Guitar Hero and Half Life 2.
One of the biggest concerns of game development is the costs. The average game in the year 2000 would cost around $1 million to develop, jump forward to 2005 and the biggest AAA titles can cost as much as $70 million. This can be due to the expectations of the average gamer who is looking for an immersive game with sparkly graphics and sound to go along with their new HDTV and Surround sound. This means the developer has to now hire more and more artist/programmers/sounds engineers and all the other people inbetween so they can hit the high expectation of the consumer.
Costs of game development are only going to increase as technology and expectations increase. Dark times could lay ahead.