A lot of these things are usually behind NDAs and tricky to gauge. Is there any information and ranges on how much these thing costs?

For example, the PS1 had the "Net Yaroze", which according to Wikipedia was: "For about $750 USD, the Net Yaroze (DTL-H300x) package would contain a special black-colored debugging PlayStation unit with documentation, software, and no regional lockout."

So, what were the prices of some game development kits?

P.S: This might make a good community wiki

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure it's a good question for the site at all actually. Historically this varies widely, both by contract, platform and time. All of those data points are irrelevant to the modern programs that allow indies access to console devkit hardware, which is usually free (in the case of MS's ID program), retail-equivalent, or contractually negotiated. \$\endgroup\$
    – user1430
    Jun 11, 2014 at 1:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm actually more interested to know this for historical reasons, and this is one of the few sites a professional game developer may be able to give an answer to it, so I figured this was one of the more suitable places. Of course, moderators discretion. ;) \$\endgroup\$ Jun 11, 2014 at 1:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JoshPetrie I edited it to be more historical. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 11, 2014 at 1:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ On a side note, I know you are discussing consoles here, but... at a previous job AMD actually gave us two "AMD64" machines for development, back before they were on the market. One for our server and another for client. I do not know what the exact terms were (i.e. whether we were expected to give them back after there were retail chips you could buy or what), but I know we did not pay a dime for them. We were expected, of course, to write x86-64 code however ;) \$\endgroup\$ Jun 11, 2014 at 2:08

1 Answer 1


Historically, development kits have not been retail products. Sony's Net Yaroze program was an early anomaly.

Development studios were granted access to kits through the contractual agreements they established with the platform vendor (Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, et cetera) or publisher; part of that agreement would typically include a licensing agreement to make use of the platform's development kits (either directly or via a publishing agreement). The details of those contracts are generally secret, and could vary with studio/publisher/platform/time/et cetera.

In some cases a studio would be granted a particular allotment of hardware for "free" as part of the deal. In some cases they could license (not purchase) additional devices for some fee.

While the specific costs could vary, the majority of such agreements were typically "boilerplate" in that regards and the effective prices of development kits tended to float in some range. For example, in 2007 the cost of a PS3 development kit was halved to about $10,000. The modern Wii U kit is rumored to cost $5,000.

It's basically a safe assumption that the kits would cost anywhere from $0 to $15,000, generally. This doesn't even include other fees involved in development; for example, back in the cartridge days you generally had to pay (Nintendo at least) to have your cartridges duplicated.


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