Think it costs a lot of money to make a blockbuster movie? Try producing a blockbuster video game.
This Friday, Sony will release the third installment "Infamous: Second Son," the first big exclusive game for the PlayStation 4 video game console.
Analysts say that a video game of this caliber could cost hundreds of millions of dollars, but the payoff could be enormous.
It's the third installment of a series that has been very successful for the company, and one that it hopes will help it expand its advantage over Microsoft in the console wars.
Sony won't comment on what it has spent—and will spend—building and marketing the game, but analysts say the cost could run into the hundreds of millions.
"A big budget game title right now will cost almost as much as a feature film. You can talk budgets of $50 million up to over $200 million for a specific title," said David Cole, CEO of DFC Intelligence, a San Diego-based video game market research firm.
A huge investment, for sure, but the payoff can be huge. Take-Two's "Grand Theft Auto 5," for example—released last fall—has already reached $1.8 billion in sales.
"The numbers really don't have a defined ceiling," said Edward Williams, managing director at BMO Capital Markets. "You're talking about something on the development side that can take several years. It can take hundreds of people working on that title for that period of time, and development costs are easily measured in mid-tens of millions of dollars, so it could be 30, 40, 50 million dollars, with exceptions north of that," he said.