- The release of the generation 6 of GTA is still awaited. An expectation that fuels speculation about the content of the game, but also about its cost.
- In a tweet viewed more than 2.5 million times since it went online on May 10, the Twitter account Alerte Infos suggests that the game "will cost Rockstar Games between one and two billion dollars", based on a tweet from a specialized site.
- Two specialists believe it is plausible that GTA 6 ultimately costs a billion, between development or marketing costs. The cost of two billion, in view of the available data, seems to them to be overestimated.
How much will it cost to produce the next Grand Theft Auto, whose release has been patiently awaited by fans for several years? The studio that produces it, Rockstar games, is known for not skimping on the means to create the universe of this game that has become a global social phenomenon since the release of the first GTA in 1997.
In a tweet viewed more than 2.5 million times since it went live on May 10, the Twitter account Alerte Infos argues that GTA 6 "should be the most expensive game of all time." According to this account, the game "will cost Rockstar Games between one and two billion dollars." An astronomical amount and a wide range, one billion.
Alerte Infos relies on another tweet, that of the Dexerto Gaming account. In a message published on May 9, the specialized site announces the same amount and the same range, but does not cite sources. In parallel, no article is published on the site to give more information on this subject.
This estimate had already circulated in September, when a hacker had published videos of GTA 6. A screenshot of an alleged private conversation of the hacker had been published on Twitter, in which the hacker indicates that GTA 6 has been in development since 2014 and that two billion have already been spent on it, without knowing precisely what these expenses correspond to: development, marketing... Announcements that have never been confirmed by Take-Two Interactive Softwares, the company that owns Rockstar Games, which develops the game.
Is this estimate realistic? Two video game specialists interviewed by 20 Minutes consider an estimate of one billion dollars "plausible". On the other hand, in view of the available data, they rule out the hypothesis of a cost of two billion.
"The cost of Red Dead Redemption 2, released in 2018, was estimated at about $ 800 million: $ 500 million in production and $ 300 million in marketing," recalls Caroline Cayol, video game journalist for Blacknut, which she presents as the "Netflix of online gaming". Red Dead Redemption was developed by the same company as GTA. As for the previous GTA, released ten years ago, its budget was estimated at $ 265 million.
The richness of the GTA universe, which can be explored during many hours of gameplay, the number of people involved in the creation and the marketing costs can explain such amounts. Rockstar Games "make hyper-licked games, with huge maps, incredible artificial intelligence," says Carole Cayol. Technical constraints also explain these production costs: "Game consoles require programming quality. If you want to be on the PlayStation V, it's going to cost more than being on the PlayStation IV. We also need teams that are able to adapt to the medium: PlayStation, computer... »
Behind a video game, there are many teams that work: programmers, graphic designers and special effects specialists, musicians and sound designers, summarizes Stéphane Natkin, former director of the National School of Games and Digital Interactive Media. In addition, "the process of producing a video game is iterative: you make one or two versions, you test, you see what needs to be modified and so on." Studios are also increasingly releasing extensions or additions to the initial version, which must also be produced and distributed.
Rockstar Games also invests in marketing: "The release of a GTA or Red Dead Redemption is more orchestrated than a Marvel, because there is one Marvel per year," says Carole Cayol.
The industry is not characterized by its transparency on the amounts invested in games, nor on sales. "We don't have official sales figures, which are linked to the lifetime of the game," says Stéphane Natkin.
Carole Cayol already sees a beneficiary of all the speculation around GTA 6: Rockstar Games. "It makes them feel good, because we're talking about them." And the speculations, the true or false leaks, are still likely to last, since no official release date of GTA 6 has been announced.
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