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The True Cost of Game Development

As the gaming industry develops, so does the cost of development. Game production is no easy walk in the park as it takes long hours and a lot of money to be able to create well-developed products.

The True Cost of Game Development By Alley Labs

At some point, this question may have crossed your mind: 'how much does a game cost?' The answer here actually depends on creating a game can reach millions of dollars for a single game production. In developing a game, there are a lot of factors that influence the creation of the game, besides time, money and experience. To make a fully developed game, there is a process to follow.

We will answer that question, of course, but we need to know first the factors affecting the cost of game creation.

Before even starting to bring a game to life, developers need to consider some factors. First is to know what type of game you want to create. How do you want the storyline to be? Easy and direct, or do you want a more in-depth story and harder gameplay? Second is the demographics your game intends to target. Who are your audiences? The age bracket of your target audience, as well as how the game appeals to that segment, matters. The third is the design that is most suited for your game. Would it be pixelated in style or with high definition graphics? Planning and design alone would take at least several hours and days just for that process alone.

To be able to keep up with the competition, game developers want their app to have the edge over the competitors. Thus, they have to consider the functionality and features the game has to offer such as screens, controls, and standard features. Of course, the more complex the features and function size, the longer it takes and the more it costs to develop.

Mobile Games

The flourishing mobile game industry is a very different entity than the old console games. Mobile games usually employ 2D art and are often casual—do not require any particular skill, there is repetitiveness and lack of finality when playing, giving the user the opportunity to play the games anytime offline or online. Mobile games are usually found in App stores like Google Play or Apple Store and more often downloadable for free.

The estimated cost of creating the game, with marketing included, ranges from $50,000 to $50 million. Mobile game developers usually earn profit through in-app purchases, intentionally making inconveniences in the game like giving a waiting time before moving on with the game, but gives the option for the player to purchase advantages. They earn through game currency where players purchase using real money. An example of this would be buying 20 gems worth $2, which seems like a good deal because of the low price and the high return, thus urging us to spend more without realizing it.

Console Games

Unlike mobile games, console games offer a more complex and in-depth design. Most of the games through console are 3D designed and offer a longer gaming time compared to mobile games with more depth regarding the storyline. Console games are usually played using PlayStation, Xbox or Nintendo Wii, but can also be played via a custom built compatible PC units for gaming.

Console games can go from $15 million to $60 million and can take about four years to make. These games are more expensive due to the high-definition art and the length of time needed to make them (creating console games takes longer than mobile games). How game companies profit from these is through sales and distribution. Because of the high budget, game publishers have become more careful. They usually create sequels to triple-A games, which have proven success in balancing out newly-released games’ profit.


So, how much does game creation cost? We can’t say an exact amount. We can only put a guessed estimation based on writers and analysts’ estimations. However, game development is no easy task, since it takes a gradual amount of both time and money to be able to complete well-developed games for us to enjoy.

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