Another day, another series of informational nuggets from the ongoing legal battle between Microsoft and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over the former’s bid to acquire Activision Blizzard for $69 billion USD.
Today’s an interesting one, with a number of documents submitted to courts by Sony having been poorly redacted – sensitive details seemingly blacked out with a sharpie which then didn’t hold up against the court’s scanner – and revealing some before-unseen insight into PlayStation’s inner workings, including some of the development costs for its biggest games.
According to one document, which has since been pulled from records but can still be seen in The Verge’s report here, games like Horizon Forbidden West and The Last of Us Part II had astronomical development costs in excess of $200 million USD each. The Horizon sequel was seemingly in development for at least five years, employing around 300 full time developers and costing $212 million USD to make, with Naughty Dog’s celebrated follow-up to The Last of Us reportedly taking even longer to produce, employing around 200 full time staff at its peak and costing $220 million USD to create.
For comparison, something like Grand Theft Auto V reportedly cost around $140 million USD to develop back in 2013, considered at the time to be one of the most expensive game development projects to date. It’s no secret that budgets are ballooning in order for studios to keep pushing the technological envelope and deliver increasingly-rich words, characters and stories, but these numbers are still pretty staggering.
In other “redacted” information to come out of these Sony documents, PlayStation console owners who exclusively play Call of Duty games and nothing else on PlayStation hardware reportedly make up a whopping 1 million users, and Call of Duty players seemingly generated over $1.5 billion USD in spending on PlayStation in 2021 alone – a clear indicator on why it’s so fired up about keeping the franchise out of competitors’ hands.