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What Does a Mobile Game Cost to Build These Days?

07-10-2013, 04:59 AM
Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 1
What Does a Mobile Game Cost to Build These Days?

Hi all,

How much do games cost to build? Yeh, i'm sure that's a "how long is a piece of string" question but i'm wondering if anyone has any thoughts on the average cost of creating a nicely polished mobile game?

Based on my own experience I get the feeling that 50K+ is a number that wouldn't shock too many people...

07-10-2013, 05:20 AM
Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Wellington
Posts: 938
Pretty hard for us to create a game under the US$250k mark these days given the amount of content, features, and iteration we go through to get something to market at the quality we want it to (and at the quality the market is demanding).

That means our average is somewhere above that.
07-10-2013, 06:12 AM
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 744
It's quite hard do really tell how much a game costs as a lot of developers do the work themselves. When its your own time it's hard to quantify. If your outsourcing or hiring staff for every aspect of the game you could be talking 100s of k but if you doing the work yourself it might be 10k.
07-15-2013, 07:53 AM
Agree with PikPok. 200k$-300k$ seems to be a nice fork of "big enough to be competitive" and "too risky to be breakeven".

For example, if you have a very strong and equilibrate core team of 3 people:
- 1 artist
- 1 programmer
- 1 designer who also does art or programming
+ additional whatever (not full time), like audio, anim, UI, writing, PR
That makes something like 4 fulltime salaries (say 70k/y) + studio cost (say 10%) + QA/Loc/PR stuff like going to PAX or whatever, you pretty fast reach the 300k within 10 months.
07-15-2013, 05:58 PM
Joined: Feb 2013
Location: Lafayette, CO
Posts: 47
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I couldn't estimate...

I agree with what's been said above, but I can give you some solid numbers as far as outlay is concerned.

Unity - $4,200
Unity Addins - $200
Website incl. incidentals - $200
Test Devices - $500
Sound - $2,000

That's what... $7,100?

What is unidentifiable is our time. We're a two man team that's handling art, programming, testing, marketing, web building, client interaction, production, design, financials, etc., etc., etc.

When I was employed, I was easily adding an additional 20-30 hours on top of my 40+ hour week. My boyfriend did the same. Our salaries alone, based on our last paying positions, would already top $90k, not including overtime hours, benefits, costs of our personal laptops and phones and tablets that we use.

A really rough estimate for the past 6 months of work easily top 102k, and does not include any marketing funds.

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07-19-2013, 02:46 PM
Joined: Sep 2012
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 117
Here's part of our post mortem that details out what it cost us to build Nameless: the Hackers RPG