Game App Development: How Much Does It Really Cost to Create a Mobile Game?

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May 2019
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Author : Michael Georgiou
Mobile Game Development Cost

Mobile game development is a booming market. According to reports, there will be more than 2.4 billion mobile gamers worldwide by the end of 2019. And, with emerging technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), this number will only increase.

Mobile games are the most downloaded apps. Although there are thousands of games available on the app stores, developing a mobile game app still provides a long-term revenue generation opportunity.

So how much does it cost to develop a mobile game? Well, it depends on several factors including the type, design, story, testing and so on.

Mobile Gaming Market Snapshot

  • There are more than 203 million mobile gamers in the US
  • Mobile gaming dominates more than 50% of the global games industry revenue
  • More than 72% of the mobile phone users in the US play games on their phones
  • The mobile game market is expected to reach $106.4 billion in 2021
  • 49% of mobile gamers spend money on mobile games

Factors Affecting The Mobile Game Development Cost

There are different factors that need to be considered while developing a mobile game app.

1. Game Story, Plot, and Characters

Stories are the base of every engaging game app. If you want to keep the player engaged until the end of the game, you need an attractive plot and character. It involves designing the personality, dialect, and tone of various characters and their interaction with the player.

This process involves a lot of communication between the game ideators and professional strategists. That’s why it’s a good idea to hire an in-house or near-shore developer for these tasks. An experienced game planner would charge anywhere between $100 to $150 an hour.

2. Design

The mobile game design is a multilayer process. In this phase, the game levels, target users, gameplay and game environment are planned. This is a crucial phase and needs to be done carefully. Without a proper design plan, your game app may create a lot of glitches and bugs.

There are many professionals involved in the complete design and development cycle including game artists, architecture, UX and UI designers, etc. Based on the experience and capabilities, these professionals can charge between $150 to $250 per hour.

3. Game Categories and Genres

Once you move past the stages above, the next step is to start developing your game app. This is the most important and expensive phase. The cost of the mobile game app largely depends on whether you’re developing a casual gaming app, a social gaming app or a simulation app.

Depending on their complexity, game apps can be categorized as:

  • Mini Games

Mini-games or casual games are simple solitary games that do not require any specific skills to play.

Simple games like Ping Pong can cost you around $20,000. However, if you want to add some extra features like graphics, or if you have higher expectations from your gaming app, then you may need to set your budget to somewhere around $50,000.

  • Casual 2D Games

These are the small budget games that involve basic 2D graphics and soundtrack. Even though these are simple 2D games, they offer a great user engagement rate and opportunity for scale-up.

Games like Red Ball and Stack fall under this category. It may cost you around $50,000 to $100,000 to develop these types of games.

  • Social Games

These games are played by multiple users on social media sites like Facebook. The social gaming apps are similar to browser games and access limited user data.

These games are usually built with SDKs that are provided by social media platforms. A social media game like Farmville can cost between $100,000 to $250,000.

  • Mid-level Games

Some very well-known games Angry Birds fall under this category. These mobile games involve different levels, characters, story, and good graphics.

The variety and depth in the content improve the replayability and engages players for longer durations. It may cost you anywhere from $250,000 to $700,000 to develop such games.

  • Business Game Applications

Modern-day businesses are taking advantage of mobile games to improve their team-building efforts. Companies are using mobile games as an internal tool to enhance communication, encourage creativity, and make the overall work environment more fun and engaging.

The business game applications are thoughtfully developed to engage a large group of people. These are the multiplayer games that have an exciting storyline, graphics, animation, game levels, soundtrack, and cross-platform compatibility.

In addition, mobile games created for enterprise companies and small to medium-sized businesses can be purposely built to brand the company in a unique way, become a lead generator, and even close more sales.

You need an expert mobile app development company to get these type of games developed. The business game apps generally cost anywhere from $250,000 to $550,000.

You can get in touch with us if you’re looking for a custom mobile game app for your business.

  • High-level Games

These games require a huge budget, but if you can hit the right audience, you can earn great rewards. These games require careful design, strategy, and a comprehensive plan. It sometimes may take more than a year to completely develop and release these type of games.

As the cost involved in developing these games is quite high, you should hire experienced developers. You may have to spend anywhere from $400,000 to $1,000,000 to develop a high-end mobile game.

4. Game App Testing

When it comes to mobile game apps, the testing process is as important as development. Gamers have little to no tolerance to bugs in the game.

Nobody likes a buggy, slow game. That’s why it is important to make sure that the game runs smoothly, without any issues, and offers a rich user experience.

Generally, the game app development company would offer testing services as part of the entire project lifecycle. You just need to keep some budget aside for testing.

5. Marketing of Your Game App

Ok, so just because you’ve developed an awesome game app, it doesn’t mean it’s going to hit the market on its own. You have to put in some marketing efforts to make your game app viral.

You’ll also need to budget accordingly to properly market your mobile game app in order to increase the visibility and rankings in the Apple and Google Play stores, which is also known as App Store Optimization (APO).

Are you set to develop your first mobile game application? If you’re looking for a credible development partner that can implement these types of applications, you can get in touch with us. We are an award-winning web app and mobile development company offering all-inclusive mobile game development services.

 

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