Unfortunately he is. He also wrote a great book on the behind the scenes happening of Game Development if you are interested.
I recommend checking out his book from a couple.years ago, Blood, Sweat, & Pixels.
Details a lot of the development of Diablo 3, Destiny, Uncharted 4, Witcher 3, Dragon Age Inquisition, and more.
You should read his book, Blood Sweat and Pixels, it deep dives into a lot of games developments just like in this article (including Dragon Age Inquisition). It’s an absolutely fascinating, if sometimes depressing, read.
>While today you can develop a great game with descent graphics and story, etc for less than $100. Hell mods that can be the size and quality of real published games with entire campaigns, voice acting,multiplayer modes, etchave been produced costing nothing.
Lies. Especially that last thing.
You're making the mistake of assuming Time =/= Money. Time absolutely equals money.
Those "free" mods, with voice acting and all that, absolutely have a cost. Someone spent hundreds to thousands of hours setting it all up. Sometimes teams. Someone spent dozens to hundreds of hours reading out voices, and someone else made executive decisions on which reading to use. That all of the time was volunteered does not mean it cost nothing. Were it done by a business, every single person there would get a paycheck for their time.
Skyblivion was started in 2013. Assuming 30 hours were spent on it per week on average, between 2014 and 2018 you're looking at 6,240 hours. At $10 an hour (an underpaying rate) you're at $62,400 to make what they've made of it.
Comic Books take roughly 6 months from start to publication (if not more, some have their stories finished and ready to print 6 months ahead of the print date) and if there's only one artist and one writer (usually there's also an inker, sometimes two writers), you're looking at $84,000 a year for the pair. If you only get six months of work out of them, that's still $42,000, signifigantly more than your "few thousand" estimation. And that's before we even get in to printing and distribution costs.
The current average feature length budget for a Hollywood Film is between $70-90 million.
This book gives a figure of $10,000 per person per month to develop a game, meaning a 400 person team given 3 years for an AAA game would need $144,000,000 to make a game.
A 50 person team taking 2 years for a more A level game is going to use up $12,000,000.
And 5 people taking a year to make a little indie game need $600,000 to do it.
I.. uh.. don't see how Gaming is in any way falling behind.
This is a good place to start
He's a journalist for Kotaku, well-known for writing stories on what goes on in specific games' development. He wrote about Destiny's troubled development, Ubisoft's planned game Pioneer, EA's cancelled Star Wars game, and even wrote a book on these and other stories.
There is quite more to it, starting with George Lucas wanting the entire story completely swapped with Boba Fett causing the studio to have to scrap most of the original story and completely rethink how the game plays from the e3 and back. Then when Disney bought Lucas and gave EA video game rights the team tried to sell them on the idea of the game to them, but EA just said they wanted to hire some of them for a new Star Wars RPG game.
Source: Jason Schreier an editor Kotaku made a book after going around interviewing people in the game development world called Blood, Sweat, and Pixels (Amazon Link)
Edit: Some wording
As is usually the case, most of the problems we are seeing are self inflicted. The best thing I’ve read that explains all the disjointed pieces of Destiny 2, was actually a quote about Destiny 1 in Jason Schreier’s “Blood, Sweat, and Pixels.”
>“I think the real story of Destiny’s development is that just making any game is incredibly hard,” said Jaime Griesemer. “Trying to make an ambitious game under a lot of pressure is staggeringly hard. . . . When you have just quantic explosions and craterings and huge assimilation and communication problems on a team, you end up wasting so many resources and so much time that you see it in the final game.”
Griesemer is a former Bungie designer who is quoted in the book with having a striking series of questions for the Destiny development team up to 2010 before he was asked to resign. His questions, amazingly, still have not been solved by Bungie to this day.
>At one point, he e-mailed out a list of core design problems he thought Destiny was going to encounter...How were they going to make content that stayed fresh no matter how many times people replayed it? And, perhaps most pivotally, how would they marry the precise shooting of an action game, in which your proficiency is based on skill, with the treadmill progression of an MMO, in which your character’s strength is dependent mostly on levels and gear?
This last piece is what we are essentially all asking with the progression system of Destiny 2. He was asking the design team these questions nearly a decade ago.
You should read Blood, Sweat, and Pixels if you haven't. Amazing book, and has a whole section devoted to BioWare and Dragon Age.