Sony’s Financial Slip-Up: Revealing the True Cost of Blockbuster Games and the Value

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In an unprecedented slip-up, Sony inadvertently disclosed the budget of its major PlayStation exclusive titles, The Last of Us Part II and Horizon Forbidden West, as well as the value of Call of Duty for PlayStation. The error occurred due to poorly redacted documents submitted by Sony to a court dealing with the Federal Trade Commission’s lawsuit against Microsoft and Activision Blizzard.

Image Source: Sony Interactive Entertainment

It appears Sony’s lawyers attempted to hide sensitive figures with a black marker in the documents. However, the text underneath was still visible after scanning, revealing the concealed information.

Although the court swiftly removed the overly revealing documents from public access, it was too late. The information had reached the public, journalists, and even Sony’s competitors. So, what confidential details did the sloppy redaction uncover?

Image Source: The Verge

One Sony document held information about the production budget (excluding marketing costs) of two major PlayStation exclusives, the action-adventure game The Last of Us Part II and the open-world action game Horizon Forbidden West.

It turns out, the development of The Last of Us Part II involved 200 staff members and cost Sony $220 million. Meanwhile, the production of Horizon Forbidden West lasted five years, cost $212 million, and involved 300 people.

Another document disclosed how many PlayStation users played Call of Duty. In 2021, over 12 million people spent more than 30% of their gaming time on Call of Duty, 6 million spent over 70% (averaging 296 hours), and 1 million dedicated all their gaming time to it.

In 2021 alone, Sony earned over $800 million in the US and $1.5 billion worldwide from Call of Duty. Including accessories, subscriptions, and everything else, the revenue reached $13.9 billion (possibly even $15.9 billion, as the text is illegible).

Image Source: The Verge

Author Profile

Martin Harris
I'm Martin Harris, a tech writer with extensive experience, contributing to global publications. Trained in Computer Science, I merged my technical know-how with writing, becoming a technology journalist. I've covered diverse topics like AI and consumer electronics, contributing to top tech platforms. I participate in tech events for knowledge updating. Besides writing, I enjoy reading, photography, and aim to clarify technology's complexities to readers.

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