Expect More Paid Online Content

Console game development can be an expensive, and risky, business. In fact, Gears of War cost $10 million to develop, and it came in on the cheap end. Looking at the cost of getting a game into the hands of consumers and then what gets cut out, thanks to this handy 1up link, it’s amazing that games every make a profit at all. That’s where paid content comes in.

According to the latest research from In-Stat, a marketing and research firm, online console revenue should grow at the rate of 46% annually from 2005 to 2010, while handheld gaming could start factoring in this year. With the launch of the two new consoles from Nintendo and Sony, joining the XBox 360 that launched in 2005, over the same 5 year period as before, the annual subscriber rate should be 40.8% while handheld hits a surprising 94.2%. Brian O’Rourke, an In-Stat analyst, had this to say about increases in paid content:

“Sony and Nintendo both launched new online efforts focused on providing paid downloadable content in the form of games from past consoles as well as casual games that will be available for $3 to $15. Meanwhile, Microsoft continued to be the leader in the online console space in 2006, with its announcement of a video and movie download service for the Xbox 360.”

Let’s hope that the content ends up being actual new content from the developers and not just paying to unlock content that should have been included anyway. I’m looking at you, EA and Sony.

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