Once you have the idea of creating your own game, the next question that comes up is: “How much will it cost?”. In fact, it depends on many factors that should be taken into account to determine video game development costs. In this article, we will look at some of the most important factors that will be decisive in determining the final cost of developing a game.
What determines the price of a game?
For many novice developers, the question often arises: how much to make a mobile game? There is no definitively simple answer to this question because you need to find out what the game will be like and what it means to ‘make’ it. The shortest answer would be that the cost of creating a game ranges from $0 to $300 million. Yes, it is difficult to call it a definite answer to the question, so we should go deeper.
To begin with, anyone can (practically) create a game for free using some of the free tools that are available on the Internet. Such a game can be considered created for $0, if you do not take into account the time spent, computer power and the Internet.
On the other hand, the cost of the most advanced and famous games is about 200-300 million dollars. This price matches the cost of a huge development team that has been working for many years, office costs, software, outsourcing, taxes, and more. Obviously, such a game can be called high-class and requiring considerable costs.
What are the types of games?
As you can see from the examples above, game development cost estimation depends on many factors. To better understand how much a particular game costs, it will be convenient to break them down into three different types. In this way, a wide range of different costs can be explored at each stage of development.
- Indie games. These games are created either by a single developer or a small team and released on platforms such as Steam, Origin, Epic Games Store, etc. The budget of such games is usually not too high, but among them there are very popular ones, such as Dead Cells, Hollow Knight, Cuphead, etc.
- Triple A game. These are games from major publishers with huge budgets, including Battlefield, Metro, Half-Life, Mafia, Hitman and others.
- Triple I games. This is a cross between the two above types of games. This is usually larger than an indie game, but not the size of a major AAA game. Such a game is, for example, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice.
The cost of creating different types of games
Next, we look at the average cost of creating each type of game. Despite the fact that game development costs depend on many factors, we can name an approximate range.
As the experience of most successful indie games shows, development often requires an amount in the range of $50,000 to $750,000. This amount may be less if the same developer has been working on the game for several years. As the development team grows, so does the cost of the game. Independent publishers expect the game to cost half a million dollars to develop. However, the publisher may increase the amount to increase the marketing budget, game details and testing. Depending on the number of platforms on which the game will be available, the cost of the publisher may also vary.
Triple A games
Game development process triple A games can usually cost tens or hundreds of millions of dollars. Games of this magnitude are created by a considerable team of developers over several years. For example, the Call of Duty series of games is being developed simultaneously by three large studios, each of which spends a lot of money on development. In addition to development expenses, a huge budget will be spent on production and distribution of CDs, marketing, advertising, and much more.
Triple I games
The cost of developing such games ranges from 1 to 10 million dollars. However, this is only the price for the development of the game, without considering the costs of marketing, promotion of the game, etc.
Mobile game development costs
With mobile games, the situation is slightly different, as the cost of games will be completely different. Mobile games are usually created for the App Store or Google Play. Mobile game development costs range from $5,000 for simple mini-games to $200,000 for more complex multiplayer games. Prices may also vary depending on what game features will be presented. It is also worth considering that the development of games for iPhones is usually more expensive than for Android.
How much do mobile games make?
An average mobile game with around 50,000 downloads with a good monetization model can expect to earn $12,000-$13,000. The more downloads a game has, the more revenue it can generate. Furthermore, in-game transactions bring additional profit to the game studio.
Factors that can increase the cost of developing a mobile game
Regardless of the mobile game development process, there are several factors that affect costs that apply to many mobile games. Here is some of them:
- Pre Development Costs. In order for the development process to be well structured, developers create a strategy in a special GDD document. The process of creating this document is the basis of the entire project and requires some effort, which also seriously affects the costs.
- Game engine. During mobile game creation, engines such as Unity or Unreal Engine are usually used. Depending on the choice of one of them, the requirements for the game may change. Therefore, costs may also differ.
- 2D or 3D games. Obviously, the cost of developing 3D games is much higher than 2D. If the development of a 2D game can be $5,000-20,000, then in the case of 3D games, the cost starts from $20,000 and can go up to $300,000.
How to reduce the cost of developing a mobile game
Although the development of games takes a huge amount of money, you can reduce its cost thanks to outsourcing. This is not only a great way to reduce the cost of a mobile game, but also to finish development on time. Art is becoming more and more popular to reduce game development costs, so you can also use art outsource services. By outsourcing part of your work to Retrostylegames specialists, you not only get rid of the extra costs of hiring full-time employees, but also get a quality job done. Even the largest companies in the development of Triple A games outsource part of the work, as this strategy has long proved to be effective.
Tips for keeping development costs down
Finally, here are some tips to reduce development costs for the mobile game market:
- Outsourcing. As we have already discussed, one of the ways to reduce development costs is outsourcing. Partnering with a software development agency allows you to leverage a large pool of resources and save on a variety of costs, including hiring qualified people, paid vacations, insurance, recruitment costs, training, and more.
- Make a detailed plan and requirements. Whether you are working with an outsourcing company or with your own team, make sure you clearly state the scope, goals of the project, and requirements. In this way, you will avoid miscommunication and unnecessary waste of time explaining exactly what needs to be done. Lack of a clear plan and functional requirements can lead to missed deadlines.
- Use ready-made functions. If you want to save money, then one of the methods is that you can use ready-made functions and templates. By integrating some features into your game, you will avoid the extra cost and time spent writing code from scratch.
All of the above features can not only help you save money and time, but also make your game better and more polished.
Barry Lachey is a Professional Editor at Zobuz. Previously He has also worked for Moxly Sports and Network Resources “Joe Joe.” he is a graduate of the Kings College at the University of Thames Valley London. You can reach Barry via email or by phone.