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What Factors Influence the Cost of Game Development?

Game Development
Mar 04, 2023
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The cost of game development

Do you have a unique game idea in mind? If yes, the next step is to conceptualize your idea and figure out the cost of game development. There are a plethora of major and minor factors that influence game development costs. The budget for video games is carefully curated after taking all the factors into consideration. From pre-production to features to the platform of the game, all majorly affect the game budget. 

Mobile games built on different platforms have varied game development costs. For instance- a mobile game built on Android is significantly cheaper than a game built on iOS. This is because iOS features stringent AppStore guidelines and the iOS developer charges are also high. Do you want to budget your mobile game? Fret not, this blog will highlight all the major factors that influence mobile game development expenses. 

Mobile Game Market Overview

The mobile market is flourishing and is now one of the fastest-growing sectors in the world. Let’s take a look at the market statistics to get a better idea. 

  • According to Statista, the US mobile games revenue was estimated to be valued at $22,828 million in 2022, up from $18,250 million in 2020. 
  • Developing innovative, new games will be easier with the growth of the US mobile game market. COD: Mobile and PUBG Mobile have reached $500 million and $2.6 billion in revenue, respectively, in the last two years.
  • The number of mobile game players worldwide was 2,659.5 million in 2021.
  • It is predicted that mobile gaming revenue will increase by 2.9% CAGR by 2024.
  • In the United States, more than 72% of mobile device users play mobile games.

Game Development Process: A Developer’s Perspective

You need to recognize what you are paying for in order to better understand the cost of game development. In order to do this, one should examine the fundamentals, such as the detailed procedure for developing mobile apps. Here are the steps: 

Game Development Process: A Developer’s Perspective

1. Come Up With a Unique Idea

Developing a game begins with its concept. A successful game could serve as the inspiration for the concept, or it could be completely original. Our development team will study the market and your game idea before embarking on the game development process

  • Answering key questions should be part of your game idea. 
  • Are the players’ needs going to be met by the game? 
  • How can players be engaged? 
  • Has the game been enjoyable for you? 
  • How do the players react to the features that pleasantly surprise them? 

There are a number of concerns that game creators must address when developing a game concept. 

2. Polish Your Game Concept

Generally, idea refinement involves developing the storyline, which establishes the game’s protagonist, plot, and general theme. At this point, the goal of the game and its control are determined. An explanation and representation of the game’s building pieces are provided in the notion of game creation. A comprehensive overview of the game provides an overview of its mechanics, settings, technology, and interactions.

3. Create a Game Design Document(GDD)

Now that the game concept has been drafted, it’s time to begin the production process. To develop the concept, a team of game designers, programmers, and QA testers must be assembled. It is critical for game developers to create a game design document (GDD), which is a highly descriptive and extensive account of how a game is designed. It is important to update the GDD whenever the requirements change since it is a living document. 

4. Prototype Creation

Whether you want iOS game development cost or Android Game development cost, a playable prototype is required after mechanics have been validated through testing. In addition to mimicking the key elements of the game, the prototype must incorporate key mechanics. In spite of the fact that making a prototype takes a lot of time, it is necessary to identify the flaws in the game design in order to improve it.

5. Architecture Design

It is common for game functions to evolve during development. A vast difference exists between the game’s appearance and functionality compared to its original design. During the development process, several ideas appear with technical variations. Adaptable architecture solutions based on the modular approach are required in mobile game development due to the general ever-changing nature of the industry. 

6. Front-end Development

Using the proposed subject as a basis, the game must be designed. All aspects of game design are included in the art design, including gameplay, levels, menus, and promotional artwork.  The programmers develop a game logic based solely on the designed art in each iteration. UI/UX implementation or fundamental gameplay is based on the iterations. 

7. Testing & Deployment

QA testing is performed by a team of highly qualified experts. Before releasing a game on different platforms, these testers ensure that its quality is maintained. Before the game is released, a select group of potential players sees the incomplete version. Feedback from participants can be used to determine the efficiency of the game. 

However, make sure to conduct thorough testing and iron out all the bugs and glitches of the game before deploying. Another important thing to consider is that testing & quality assurance eats up a chunk of video game production cost. 

It usually takes 2-4 months to build a simple game, but more sophisticated products can take longer. Also, the game app development cost breakdown will vary depending on the country in which the developer/development company is located. The scope and complexity of the project determine programmers’ and freelancers’ hourly rates.

Read Blog: Online Game Development Guide: Ins & Outs of Online Gaming

Video Game Development Cost Estimation

Developing a mobile application can be expensive because it is hard to estimate the workload at each stage. For you to estimate labour expenses for each function, you need to have a strong understanding of the end result and be technologically proficient. Thus, most specialists are only engaged if they are highly experienced.

Generally, game development cost calculators provided by experienced companies who have completed numerous mobile game development projects can provide you with a good estimate.

Generally, there are two major types of cost estimation. 

A. Preliminary Cost Estimate

Even though it is a preliminary estimate that you can request for free within one or two days, it does provide you with a rough idea of how much money and time will be required to develop a game application before you sign any contracts. The preliminary cost gives you a ballpark of your game development budget. 

B. Exact Mobile Game Development Expenses Quotation

The cost of developing a video game can be more accurately assessed with a contract. There is a clear description of the outcome of the contract, along with the terms and stages of operation.

In order to develop a successful game, it’s beneficial to choose the Best Android App Development Company with prior experience developing similar games. Therefore, the answer to the question “how much does a game app cost to make?” won’t be lost in endless calculations.

Distribution costs must also be considered in addition to AR Game development costs. Developer licenses from Apple, for instance, cost $99 a year. This is a one-time payment for Google, but it’s still within the same range.

Developer libraries and access to the Apple App Store and Google Play Store are included in these fees. Developer console documentation contains instructions on how to build an application that meets specific standards. Since Apple maintains stringent standards, iPhone app developers must execute their work in a specific style.

Read More:- Tips to Grow Your Mobile Card Game Business in The Gaming Industry

Factors Affecting the Cost of Game Development

When estimating a mobile game development budget, it is necessary to consider a variety of factors. Take a look at some of the top factors that affect mobile game app development costs. 

1. Pre-Production Costs

The Game Design Document (GDD) incorporates all the game details in order to make a well-structured mobile game development process. In fact, it’s a crucial step since it’s the foundation of the whole project. 

It takes time and effort to create game design documents, which contributes to pre-development game development costs. These costs can be measured based on aspects such as the cost per working hour.

2. Platform

It would be helpful if you chose iOS, Android, or both platforms. Choosing the right platform will greatly affect your game development costs as well as its reach and revenue. While iOS game development cost is significantly higher, Android still manages to dominate the mobile game market. It is more expensive to administer and pay for Apple gadgets if you choose iOS. The Single-platform development costs are lower than that of developing a multi-platform application.

The only problem is that if you only choose one platform, you will not be able to produce revenue from other platforms. In order to take advantage of the perks of each platform, it is best to choose cross-platform app development. However, cross-platform game development incurs higher mobile game development expenses so choose the right platform according to your budget and target audience. 

3. UI/UX Design

The process of designing a mobile game involves multiple layers. In this stage, you can determine your target users, the levels of your game, the game’s environment, and the gameplay. Developing a game app without a proper design will result in many bugs and glitches. This step should therefore be taken cautiously.

It is not uncommon for UI/UX designers, architects, and game artists to be involved in the whole design and development cycle. The fees charged by these professionals depend on their expertise and capacity. 

4. Testing the Game App

Similar to game development, the testing process is crucial. Bugs and glitches cannot be tolerated by gamers. To offer an unprecedented user experience, ensure that your game runs smoothly and without any problems. You should set aside money for the testing services provided by the iPhone app development company.

5. Mobile Game Genres

AR and VR app development costs greatly differ depending on whether you are creating a simulation, social, or casual game app. Depending on their complexity, game apps can be categorized as follows: 

  • 2D Casual Games: These low-budget games feature 2D graphics and a soundtrack. Despite being basic 2D games, they offer great potential for scaling up and increasing user engagement. 
  • Mini-Games: Casual or mini-games are basic solitary games that do not require particular skills. It may be necessary to fix a game development budget if you want to add more graphics or have higher expectations for the game app. 
  • Mid-Level Games: These mobile games are well-designed, feature a good storyline, feature character modeling, and have a variety of levels. Players are engaged for a longer period of time due to the depth and variety of content. 
  • Social Games: These games are played by many users on social media platforms like Facebook. In these games, limited user information is accessible, just like in-browser games. SDKs offered by social platforms are generally used by developers to build these games. 
  • High-end Games: A high-level game requires a lot of money, but it pays off if you reach the right audience. If you were cautious about your game plan, strategy, and design, it would help. The video game development cost for high-end games is significantly higher than for 2D or mini-games. 
  • Business Games: Businesses can boost their team-building efforts by using mobile games. Their mobile games are used to encourage creativity, improve communication, and create a fun and engaging work environment. Cross-platform compatibility, exciting graphics, stories, soundtracks, and levels make these multiplayer games a must-play.
Type of Mobile GamesDevelopment Cost
Mini-Game$2000 to $10000
Simple 3D Game$10000 to $20000
Social Game App$18000 to $30000
Mid-level Mobile Game$10000 to $50000
Business Mobile Game$5000 to $1,00,000
3D Game$30,000 to $60,000
AAA Game $300,000- $500,000
Real Money Game$10,000 – $100,000

6. Game Complexity

The crucial features of a game becomes apparent after determining the game’s category and genre. Integration of social media will suffice for a simple game. 

The development of a complex game like PUBG, however, requires additional features like gyroscopes, voice integration, etc. Video game production costs associated with game development increase as a result. 

7. Mobile Game Engines

Game engines play a crucial role in determining the cost of video game development. As a result, selecting one of these engines is essential since the success of your mobile game is entirely dependent on them. Selecting the right mobile game engine depends on the features, type, and category of the game. 

In the Android and iPhone app development market, you can find a variety of mobile game development engines. There are pros and cons to all of them. Depending on your needs, you need to make a selection.

Read Blog: Unity Game Development | Unity Game Engine For Gaming Startups

Most Expensive Video Games Ever Developed

Here is a list of the most expensive video games ever developed by publishers. These games were built on a massive game development budget and are complex AAA games. 

GameDevelopment Budget (in $)
Star Citizen$501 million
CyberPunk 2077$331 million
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2$316 million
Final Fantasy VII$245 million
Halo 2$230 million
Destiny$160 million
Shadow of the Tomb Raider$146 million
Dead Space 2$145 million
Grand Theft Auto V$126 million
Shenmue$114 million

Mobile Game Development Costs: Final Thoughts

As discussed in this blog, mobile game AR and VR development costs vary based on a number of factors. Game types and categories, as well as their complexity, determine this factor. 

If you want multiple-platform development or complex features, the cost will rise. Moreover, you should ensure that the price you are paying is worth the quality of service you are receiving. The average cost to make a AAA game ranges from $1 million to $100 million. While an indie game development project can be completed within a few thousand dollars. So it ultimately comes down to the type of game you want to develop. 

If you are looking for an experienced game development company that can create engaging games at affordable costs, you’ve come to the right place. With countless games in our portfolio, BR Softech is one of the best app development companies in Canada. 

Hire our skilled app developers to turn your vision into a spectacular game that runs seamlessly and promises an excellent gaming experience. 

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Call/WhatsApp :  +1-650-727-6690, +91-998-220-1414

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Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

Q.1 What are the indie game development expenses?

Indie games feature a vast game budget. Since the game is being developed by an independent developer. All the utilities and daily expenses of the developer are factored into the indie game development expenses. 

Q.2 What is the cost to make a AAA game?

AAA game development requires a significant investment. The average AAA game development cost ranges from $ 1 million to $10 million. 

Q.3 Can you develop cross-platform mobile games?

Yes, we offer cross-platform game development. Our developers are well-versed in advanced technologies and have experience working with multiple platforms. 

Nitin Garg

I am Nitin Garg Founder of BR Softech PVT LTD - an Award-winning mobile game development company. We are armed with 180+ geeks & 2753 clients worldwide, I have driven by the spirit of entrepreneurship and dream to build a billion-dollar-company.

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