Cousens: ‘Who needs a $100m game’?

Codemasters CEO Rod Cousens has candidly revealed the development cost of the publisher’s biggest games – and questioned the megabucks approach of the firm’s rivals.

The revelations came in Cousens’ speech at the Edinburgh Interactive Festival this week, in which he made the case for the UK’s strength as a development territory.

Cousens said Codemasters’ own Race Driver: GRID cost about 6.8 million” to develop, and forecast that it stands to generate around 32 million in total.

Cousens then showed off Codemasters’ new action hope, Operation Flashpoint 2.

He said that despite major investment, the title’s dev costs weren’t anywhere near that of some of its rivals.

Flashpoint was more expensive than GRID but it won’t cost us $20m to develop – and yet we can compete with games made with three to five times that budget,” he said.

He admitted that the UK was an expensive place to develop games – but said that when it comes to ability it’s a case of Rule Britannia”.

Cousens added that Codemasters’ low-cost, high-gain approach had allowed it to grow in the UK region, which is widely regarded as a difficult, expensive territory.

He said there would be more expansion to come” for the company as it ploughed ahead with its frugal, home-based strategy. That included the addition of 100 new staff to the firm’s Leamington Spa HQ in the coming months”.

He asserted that UK development was still worth investing in, calling it strong, vibrant and creative”.

He added: I would say that British development is sought after. You only have to look at the activities of companies like Sony, Warner Bros., Take Two, THQ, EA and Disney, all of whom have bought UK developers at some time and have been able to make some of them very successful.”

Cousens’ speech followed that of former PlayStation boss Chris Deering, who told the crowd that only three in ten modern titles make enough money to cover spiralling development costs.

Traditional revenue sources will not be sufficient to fund games development in future,” he said.

He encouraged the industry to concentrate on monetising the growing online and mobile sectors to offest studio costs.

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