A Complete Guide On How Much Game Development Cost

mobile game development cost

Technological advancements in the development market are encouraging developers and designers to become more creative and develop different game applications every time. And it makes users come back again to the app store and find a new game of their interest. 

Do you have an idea for a fantastic game application? That is great. After getting the game concept, your next thought will be on its development cost. But there are several factors you should consider while planning the game development cost. 

In this blog, you will discover answers to your queries about the development cost of a game. 

What Is Game Development?

Game development is a creation of a game that includes concept generation, designing, testing, and release to an app store. And it requires creative minds in a team to develop the best game applications for users.

Stages Of Mobile Game Development

A quick overview of the game development process will make you clearly understand game development costs.

Market Research and Analysis

Make a logical strategy, and research your audience and competitors to have a clear understanding of your game application. And make an ideal time to research the market value of your app.

Writing Game Design Document

Create an overall image of the game, which comprises audience, game genre, monetization options, scale, and elegance. And get a final structure of your game. 

The document includes the following sections:

  • General description
  • Essential design layout
  • Technical information

Prototyping

The prototype is a practical blueprint of your app for classifying its performance and quality. It is a sketch of a game without details and art visuals to understand the structure and conveniences of the gameplay. According to developers, developing a prototype will be helpful in evaluating the weak and potential loopholes in the design.  

Game Design

It is a wireframing of the entire app, such as creatively designing the 2D/3D assets, characters, environment, and UI/UX elements that determine the visual analysis of the game. 

Game Programming

It includes a selection of the right platform, frameworks, and programming languages. And start working on coding the program, setting a server, database, API, and implementation of game graphics (interface and animation) to have an ability to include 2D or 3D content.

Development of a Sound Scheme

In this stage, perform sound-related tasks, such as adding music or other sound effects, to create maximum fun.

Testing the Final Version

The Quality Assurance (QA) engineers play a vital role in the app’s testing. They check applications with several methods, such as unit testing, performance testing, load testing, usability testing, functionality testing, sanity testing, and so on. 

Testing scans the performance and quality of your application. And minor malfunctions, incorrect operations, and bugs are detected and removed.  

Publication

After successful testing, your app is ready to be published on the Google play store or App store. After publication, it will be available to users.

On an average calculation, a simple game app development can take approx. 2-4 months, while a complex game app development can take over 4 months to complete.

Factors Affecting Mobile Game Development Cost

Look at the reasons which affect the mobile game development cost.

Game Story, Plot, and Characters

An engaging game application has a good story. Developing a fascinating game will require attractive characters and a good plot. And it includes designing the personality, dialect, tone of various characters, and their interaction with other players.

This process requires good communication between team members of a game project. That is why it has become one of the factors for game development costs.      

Platform

A mobile game development cost analysis requires a selection of a technical foundation. Android, iOS, or cross-development type platform- you have to decide which can be best for your application development and how much it can affect the cost. 

Despite having a large variety of android devices available in different screen sizes and capacities, app development on this platform is less expensive. Whereas, development on the iOS platform is a little costly because of integrating the payment system, admin panel, and the great number of guidelines in the app store.  

In an average calculation, the development of a game on the iOS platform costs 10-20% more than on the Android platform.  

Another option available for you is cross-development, which is suitable for both platforms. It simplifies the process of implementation and deployment because you do not need to code separately for both platforms. 

Design

It is a multilayered process of game app development. This process includes game levels, target audience, gameplay, and game environment to be planned. It is a critical stage to operate carefully because without having a proper design plan for a game, your application can create a lot of glitches and bugs. And professional artists, architecture, UX/UI designers, and other experts maintain it. And they can charge you around $200/hour. 

Game Categories and Genres

After completing the above stages, the next step is to choose the category and genre of your game. Usually, game development cost depends on which type of game app you are developing. 

Classification of game application:

  • Mini-game app
  • Casual 2D game app
  • Social game app
  • Mid-level game app
  • Business game app
  • High-level game app

Types and Functionality

It is a challenging task to select what type of game you want because games are available in a significant amount. Your budget can become a guideline for you. According to research, 3D games are a little more costly than 2D games because of the more time required in the development. 

Professionalism of The Performer

The expertise of the performer is one of the factors for mobile game development costs. A highly experienced professional can charge more money for your game app development. 

Game App Testing

Slow-running applications are because of bugs. That is why it is important for an app to go through software testing. It will give you a bug-free smooth-running app with a high-quality experience. 

A game development company in USA offers the best software testing services as a part of their entire project. Therefore, keep some extra budget for your application testing.

Marketing Policy of Your Game

You have developed an attractive gaming app, but it does not mean your application is easily available to users. Put an extra marketing effort and budget to increase your mobile game app visibility and rankings in the play stores. Usually, the marketing cost is included in the mobile game development cost.

Game Development Cost Benchmarks 

  • Simple app development cost– Single platform[$60k] (e.g. Camera, Calculators)
  • Basic app price– $60k-$150k/platform (e.g. McDonald’s Loyalty)
  • Complex, custom (multi-feature) app cost– $300k+ (e.g. Uber, Instagram)

Game app development costs usually depend on the game requirements, features to include, and the size of your game. Look at the estimated development cost with different games.

  • Mini-game Cost: $20k+ [e.g. Flappy bird, Pac-man, and many more
  • 3D game cost: $60k+ [e.g. Join Clash3D, Free3D shooting, and many more
  • Mid-level game cost: $100k+ [e.g. Angry birds, Candy Crush, and many more
  • High-end game cost: $400k+ [e.g. Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, and many more
  • AAA Game cost: $500k+ [e.g. PUBG, GTA, Call of duty, and many more
  • Real money game cost: $100k+ [e.g. Ludo Empire, MPL, and many more

How Is The App Development Cost Estimated?

How do game development services accurately estimate the game development cost? https://vasundhara.io/

Here is the formula for calculating app development cost is:

Cost = Total Development Time*Hourly Rate

Cost of Hiring a Game Developer

According to an average calculation, hiring an iOS game developer is $120,000+ in the US, and if you hire from India, the cost will go down to around $48,000.

App Maintenance Cost

An app requires maintenance when it gets published to the play store. Usually, app maintenance will cost you 15-20% of the total development cost. You can discover different perspectives regarding app maintenance. It depends upon the application’s complexity, category, technology, platform, and other things.

Few factors for app maintenance cost

  • Average app maintenance cost [includes content generation, promotional activities, graphic creation, purchasing media elements, and much more].
  • Upgrading servers or hosting services also affects.
  • Recurring maintenance cost [includes code modification, new technology integration, upgrading platforms, and many more].

other elements which can also affect the app maintenance cost are:

  • Servers: $30-$60 per monthPush Notifications: $10 per month  
  • Payment Gateways: $150 per month
  • Additional unpredictable events: cost according to event

Why Is Game App Maintenance Required?

  • To keep applications safe from glitches and flickering issues
  • For UI/UX up-gradation according to new game development trends 
  • To keep track of new features to add
  • For financial security and secure payment gateways
  • To create long-lasting goodwill for the application

Is There Any Pre-Development Cost?

Storyboarding is an essential element of the pre-development process of a game. An application’s success depends on the level of engagement, especially for game apps. Without an engaging story of a game, people would not play it nor recommend it, regardless of how much your app graphics are great.

Creating a game app requires a mesmerizing plot with attractive characters that people can not get rid of it while playing. And this requires a significant amount of time and effort, hence the pre-development costs. 

Wrapping Up

Now, we need to wrap up the mobile game development costs. The cost of your application depends on various factors. So, while planning for the development of the game app, keep in mind two things:

First, keep your budget according to an hourly development rate and the complexity of your app. 

And second, keep a little extra budget for the post-development process, or you can say that app maintenance. Because as I have mentioned above, after publishing an application to an app store, it requires an up-gradation, new trending elements to add, and much more.

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