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iPhone Game Development Costs???

02-10-2010, 01:50 PM
#1
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 103
iPhone Game Development Costs???

So what does it cost a publisher to hire a developer? What do you charge to make games? What's our time and ideas worth to publishers?

Thanks guys,

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Steamroller Studios maker of Super Shock Football
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Last edited by steamrollerstudios; 02-11-2010 at 05:17 PM.
02-10-2010, 02:23 PM
#2
Who's going to own the rights to this game? The two of you? Or does the publisher get the rights to your creation when done? The answers make a BIG difference in what you should be asking for.

Case #1: If you're developing it for someone else, and they get the rights to it when done... I would charge at least $75 per hour, per man, for the course of the project, plus expenses related to subcontracting help.

Case #2: If they're simply going to advance you some royalties and market the game for you in exchange for a percentage of the profits, then ask for an advance that allows you two to live normally and pay your bills for 6 months, plus the costs of hiring outside help you mentioned.

--- ChronoSoft ---
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02-10-2010, 02:28 PM
#3
How much are you going to pay the developer + artist? How much are your overheads? How much represents a reasonable profit for the time? How much will you have to pay in sundries such as music and sounds?

Work it all out; add 25% for the cost overruns and quote that.

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02-10-2010, 03:52 PM
#4
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by CommanderData View Post
Who's going to own the rights to this game? The two of you? Or does the publisher get the rights to your creation when done? The answers make a BIG difference in what you should be asking for.

Case #1: If you're developing it for someone else, and they get the rights to it when done... I would charge at least $75 per hour, per man, for the course of the project, plus expenses related to subcontracting help.

Case #2: If they're simply going to advance you some royalties and market the game for you in exchange for a percentage of the profits, then ask for an advance that allows you two to live normally and pay your bills for 6 months, plus the costs of hiring outside help you mentioned.
Thanks for your answers! It's an IP that is already owned by the publisher, we would be reinventing the gameplay mechanics and creating the game for them which they would retain the rights to. So we would mostly be work for hire but the budget could go up or down depending on how much royalties we would get. Lot's of things to consider I know I'm starting to zero in on a price. I was just hoping to get some ball park figures others had spent on development costs so I know if I'm too high or too low. Scouring the net now, kinda hard to find

Steamroller Studios maker of Super Shock Football
Latest News: Super Shock Football HD hits the App Store
Super Shock Football HD on TouchArcade
For more info check out our Website or follow us on Twitter.
02-10-2010, 05:47 PM
#5
You went to a big publisher WITHOUT knowing your burn rate for the project? Congrats on getting the project. In my experience, if you are dealing the the heavyweights, they will laugh you out of the room without that info on hand. I guess if you already don;t have staff, get contract rates of competent people and extrapolate. I just can't imagine not having that info up front during the pitch phase.

The rate depends on 2 very important factors: 1) your history and the make up of the team and 2) the design and scope. If your company has a track record of polished games with experienced devs then your rate can be higher. Usually pubs will ask for bios of your team. Especially if it's IP that the publisher owns and wants to protect. The last thing they want to do is devalue the worth by handing the project off to inexperienced devs (not referring to you...just in general). Most importantly, how big is the game? I assume you have this all nailed down and agreed upon due to your time table and number of people you said were needed to do the project. Just make sure you can actually do the work in that amount of time.

You are right to worry about low balling. That's actually a huge red flag. As much as people want to save money and get things cheap, good products cost. When I was a technical director at a publisher (in a former life) and had to evaluate teams for projects , if the number came in too low, that studio was either desperate (usually in financial trouble) or just didn't understand the costs of developing a game. Either way, there were signs that the project had a huge risk factor. Do yourself a favor and submit numbers that work for you. If it doesn't work out it may end up as a blessing. I've been passed over on projects that ended up being hellacious crap fests where the payments didn't cover the expenses. It ended up hurting the developers in reputation and other missed opportunities. Good luck to you.

Solomon Perry, Business Development Manager, GhostDog Studio

Pocket Rocks available from iTunes
"Game of the year!" - homeless guy on 5th St.
02-10-2010, 05:54 PM
#6
Joined: Apr 2009
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,006
+1 to ghostdogstudio.

Only you can decide how much money will make the project worth your while. Given how competitive the AppStore is these days, I would be reluctant to lowball in hopes of making out with royalties, later.
02-10-2010, 06:14 PM
#7
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 977
Send a message via MSN to MindJuice Send a message via Skype™ to MindJuice
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stroffolino View Post
+1 to ghostdogstudio.

Only you can decide how much money will make the project worth your while. Given how competitive the AppStore is these days, I would be reluctant to lowball in hopes of making out with royalties, later.
Agreed. Make sure that you make some money off it no matter what happens to the game in the AppStore. Consider any profit sharing as a bonus.
02-10-2010, 06:20 PM
#8
Quote:
Originally Posted by MindJuice View Post
Agreed. Make sure that you make some money off it no matter what happens to the game in the AppStore. Consider any profit sharing as a bonus.
haha exactly. Even though I've done well with royalties in the past, my advice has always been get as much up front as possible. Screw points on the back end. Take the money and run playa!

Solomon Perry, Business Development Manager, GhostDog Studio

Pocket Rocks available from iTunes
"Game of the year!" - homeless guy on 5th St.
02-10-2010, 08:50 PM
#9
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: UK / Toronto
Posts: 602
Seeing as you seem to be asking for an actual monetary figure, and nobody seems to be coughing up the goods, I'll throw one at you, despite it being quite an inexperienced and rough one: $150 000 - with the potential to negotiate down to no lower than 100k.

How did I come up with this figure? — Basic salaries for medium-level programmer and artist over six months, with a little extra for other game assets and the fact you're managing the whole project yourselves, and loosely woven with the potential profits for this type of game. If you believe the external assets will come in at a LOT more ($15k+), add those onto the figure accordingly.

That may sound like a HUGE number to some, but I actually think that's low, and you might want to pitch that figure alongside a percent of royalties (I'd suggest starting negotiations at 30%) if you believe the license is known enough to skyrocket in sales. Maybe even pitch at $200-250k.

I think it ultimately depends if the publisher chose you because they were looking for a cheap duo to knock them out a low risk title, or if they are looking for a serious port of their IP on the iPhone platform. If it's the former, I would go with the 150k figure, if it's the latter, pitch higher. But I'd love for anyone to come at me with a more experienced and more specific figure.
02-10-2010, 10:07 PM
#10
Quote:
Originally Posted by EssentialParadox View Post
Seeing as you seem to be asking for an actual monetary figure, and nobody seems to be coughing up the goods, I'll throw one at you, despite it being quite an inexperienced and rough one: $150 000 - with the potential to negotiate down to no lower than 100k.
You can note my response this afternoon was basically the same thing for case #1, which is his situation we've learned... the company keeps the rights to this application when done. That means 2 guys * 40 hours per week * 24 weeks * $75/hour = $144,000

--- ChronoSoft ---
Support your roguelikes! Play Rogue Touch today!
Spirit Hunter Mineko: Demons Reach --- Work in progress! Follow us on Twitter!