How much does it cost to develop a game in this metaverse era? The total revenue generated through gaming has reached a total of about $90.7 billion at the start of the year, 2022. Among the total revenue, mobile games have a greater share of about 59%. The number has grown healthily over years and in the future, you can expect it to be more popular and dominant. But the major question lies in how much does it cost to build a video game? The answer to this is uncovered as we proceed further in this study.
It is known to be true everywhere that the production of a video game includes the expenditure of high revenue. It is important to know the reason why. So, let’s learn how much does it cost to develop a game.
How much does it cost to develop a game?
Renowned franchises like Rockstar games, Ubisoft, and Activision have been launching infamous games that are found to break records with their massive budget lists. The Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 has been recorded as the most expensive game during its tenure of release. GTA 5 and Far Cry have set huge milestones in gaming history. We sure enjoy the high graphics and storyline. Excellent visuals, and fantastic gameplays but there is a lot more than that. They are not so easy to make and require expertise. The developing team consists of dedicated professionals who put all their hard work to make their game a success. Their immense work and multiple project testing make it possible for the releasing game to be a boom and can win the hearts of every fan of the franchise.
In order to find the cost behind a full-cycle game development services, we must look into its divisions. Hence, the game development cost breakdown is important.
Analyzing the breakdown of the budget for Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3, the development budget was approximately a total of $ 50 million which comprised the salary of the members and the same itself. Infinity Ward is a renowned studio known for its capability to harness high FPS development. The hiring of the studio in the development procedure did surely cost a greater amount thus making the game more expensive than usual.
It is very important to make sure that the game undergoing development is ready to run before launching. The process is highly critical among the various stages. The development and maintenance team have to work utterly hard in this particular stage. The working of the testing team incorporates exploring glitches and bugs and removing them. Maintaining a reputation has much to do with the game quality and hence proper testing influences it severely. A game that undergoes a series of poor testing does not tend to be successful on and post its launch. This eventually results in the franchise losing its reputation and the support of its fans.
Every franchise wants to make its game unique by providing a new storyline and adding features that have not been used before in any other video game. To do so, the developers must put their idea into the game instead of borrowing from someone. This IP licensing part is a crucial part of the making of a game. Intellectual property rights are something that developers should be aware of. Any form of a duplicate can lead to copyright infringement. Patents are designs owned by a company that cannot be used without taking the permission of the parent company. Another is the designs where there is no scope for duplicating. The particular property feature protects the art of any gaming company from malpractices.
Over years, we have found the cost of the games to be significantly high. Games like these, which constitute a maximum of 8-9 hours of gameplay, seem to ask a lot more than what it deserves. The gamers mostly want more out of these games or they expect the game to be a bit more length to compensate for their cost. Yet, researchers say that the cost of these games has gone down the day they were sold on CDs. Previously games sold on cartridges had maximum pricing and were difficult to buy.
The whole process in the case of an indie game will cost around $50,000 to $700,000. It takes almost a year to finish for a single developer. Single developers normally develop titles that cover a cost of $50,000. Gradually with the increase in complexity of the project, cost as well as the workforce will increase. Typically, indie publishers keep their expectations around $250,000 to $500,000. This includes a workforce of five team members who invest their time for two years in a row for a single project. Other investments need to be done for the final touch. This cost goes around $200,000 to $250, 000. Necessary investments need to be made for testing and marketing the products.
AAA games are a space of huge investments. It takes enormous investments along with a lot of human labor. Roughly the investment can be estimated at around ten million dollars, it is more or less the minimum cost. It takes two whole years for the development of a complete AAA game with a few hundred team members. Popularly known publishers namely Call of duty and FIFA follow a great strategy. They keep on developing new installments along with realizing titles. They can do this because of numerous working members and repurposing assets. The cost of AAA not only includes the salary expenses but also the distribution, marketing, and manufacturing costs. These costs can alone overshadow the production cost of an AAA game.
The development of the III games is expected to range from a minimum of one million dollars to a maximum of ten million dollars. Other than the costs related to the build-up, these gaming companies got to expand on distribution and marketing. These are quite important projects and generally, III companies are not answerable to their shareholders. Yet, in a few cases, they might need to do it. These category companies have enough freedom to either self-publish their game or depend upon other publishers to do the work.
Hope now you know how much does it cost to develop a game.
Yuriy Denisyuk is Game Production Lead at Pingle Studio. He’s responsible for successfully managing the Game Production pipeline. Yuriy is this lucky person who plays the best games for work in order to keep up with trends and create new ones. He likes writing, reading Manga, fantasy and professional literature in his free time.