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Sega Saturn devkits cost $77,000 back in 1995

Making games is pretty damn expensive, even back in the day

By Derek Strickland from Nov 21, 2019 @ 15:32 CST

Games development is, and always has been, pretty expensive. Even back in the day when 3D gaming was just hitting its stride, a Sega Saturn devkit would cost over $70,000...and that's not even including licensing and publishing fees.

sega-saturn-devkits-cost-77-000-back-1995_343

ResetEra user Krejlooc recently got their hands-on a Sega Saturn devkit to make old-school games with. The kit came with documentation that outlined the price of all the components and tech you'd need to make a Saturn game in the 90s. The results aren't too pretty.

Making a Sega Saturn game would cost you roughly $77,000 to start (roughly $128,000 in today's dollars). That's not including your time, the miscellaneous fees required to pass and publish your game, nor does it include the astronomically expensive Indigo2 workstation used for 3D modeling way back when.

Here's a breakdown, as outlined by Krejlooc:

Sega Saturn Cart.Dev Rev B Cost

  • Sega Saturn Dev System I w/Hitachi E7000PC ICE - $30575
  • Cart.Dev development kit - $4800
  • Programming Target Box - $7475
  • Sound Target Box - $4800
  • Saturn Cart.Dev SIMM Buffer Board - $275
  • Modified Saturn for Cart.Dev - $700
  • Saturn Virtual CD Emulator Kit - $ 8100
  • Mirage Saturn CD Emulation System - $3000
  • Hitachi E7000PC Kit - $15000
  • SH2 CPU Board - $200
  • Yamaha 4x CD Encoder - $2500
  • Write-once blank CD box of 5 - $75
  • Total cost: $77,500

Today's devkits haven't gotten any cheaper. They cost roughly $50,000 to $70,000, and that's not including the higher-end workstation PC you'll need to do all the renders on.

As an extra bonus, here's a breakdown of what the Nintendo 64 devkits used to cost:

N64 devkit cost

  • SGI O2 - $25000
  • Softimage/Alias Power Animator - $20000
  • System Development PartnerN64-PC - $3600
  • Partner-N64PC PCI Interface board - $350
  • IS-Viewer NUS - $1600
  • Control Deck Assembly1 - $200
  • Control Deck Assembly2 - $200
  • 4 Meg Memory - $20
  • PC Sound Tools - $1500
  • Flash Rom Gang Writer - $2425
  • 256M Flash Cartridge - $461
  • 16K Eeprom - $2
  • IC 7101 CIC - $1
  • N64 Disk Drive + 5 disks - $ 650
  • Additional Disk for N64 Disk Drive - $20
  • Total Cost: $56,029

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