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How Much Does it Cost to Make a Mobile Game in 2023?

The process of developing a mobile game is a set of activities for creating a picture and sound, writing code and checking the performance of all elements. The game’s creation and price are influenced by variety, complexity, and other factors. Mobile apps are different from AAA games, as are their prices. For example, the creation of Flappy Birds will cost only $ 500, then GTA $ 265 million. These figures are based on the following items of expenditure:

  • Development. Salary for the development team.
  • Software and data. Software licenses, databases, and other information.
  • Intellectual property. Rights to the game series, characters, music, and art.
  • Promotion. ASO and SEO optimization, advertising campaigns, and marketing strategy.

In 2015, the gaming industry was worth more than $100 billion, in 2022, it is already $200 billion.

Cost to Develop a Game

The final cost to develop a game or mobile game app depends on many factors: the engine used, the professionalism of the performer and the marketing policy, etc.

  • The average cost for programming an entertainment app in Eastern Europe is $7,500.
  • And in Australia and the USA, specialists charge an average of $ 100 for 1 hour.
  • IT specialists from Western Europe sell their service for 60 euros/hour; in India – it is 8-30 dollars.

Thus, the customer can use the outsourcing service or local trust contractors. 

Mobile Game Development – Factors That Affect the Cost of Making a Mobile Game

Today, it is realistic for any technically gifted person to become the author of their mobile application – there are all the necessary technologies for this. But to launch the project, you must go through several complex and very important stages.

  • Command type. Creating an Android game is within the power of one freelance programmer, and some even do it independently. At the same time, a AAA project requires an equivalent workforce. For an average video game, these are three programmers and a manager, while for a serious RPG, you need five people and your own office or a variant of a ready-made team for the development process.
  • Game design. Team size is also related to game design. For a small game, the customer, manager, and coder talk about the level, game mechanics, and characters in words. In comparison, a complex project needs a dedicated game builder, relevant documentation, and other tools to keep the team on track. The visual component is important at all stages of development. Very often, even large companies turn to outsourcing for help. One of these is the RetroStyleGame team, one of the top game art outsourcing companies.
  • Development of tools and game engine. Visual stories and simple mobile games are developed on off-the-shelf engines. You need to change the engine or write your own from scratch for more complex options. For one project, writing the code will take two months, while it takes a year to create your engine.
  • Service integration. It takes half an hour to integrate one plugin with the mobile platform. In contrast, connecting the three plugins takes at least a day. Moreover, some plugins are incompatible with each other, and it takes weeks or even months to solve this problem.
  • Quality and quantity of graphics. A lot of graphics have to be constantly optimized and compressed. This also applies to quality. You must use complex optimization methods on the chosen platform for high-quality graphics. 
  • More code means more programmers. The more code is written to create a game, the more difficult it becomes. Also, it takes more time to maintain the code during the development of mobile games. Building systems, analytics, optimization, and testing – this is considered when making a new set of changes and mobile game development process.
  • Quality control and assembly systems. A small mobile game project can be manually compiled, run, and tested. Whereas the complexity of testing grows proportionally with the growth of the project. Automated testing complicates the task and increases its cost.
  • The number of platforms. Although Unity3D is a cross-platform engine, when working on code that is based on Unity3D, it is worth remembering other platforms. Sometimes you have to maintain a single code base by making changes unrelated to the new platform to the old version of the code.

Here, for example, popular games game development costs.

Name of the game Functional units Price, $
Flappy bird 1 300
Clicker Heroes 50 60000
Subway Surfers 50 50000
Soccer Stars 100 300000
Angry Birds Rio 500 100000
Match 3600 100000
Poker Room 900 200 000
HearthStone 1000 300000
Hay Day 2000 500000
PokemonGo 3000 650000
Clash of Clans 10000 12000000
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 20000 50000000
GTA V 100000 265000000

Future Of The Mobile Gaming Industry

In recent years, large companies in the video game market have begun to invest in mobile devices actively. From successfully moving headlines to acquiring apps with millions of downloads, software companies’ interest in the smartphone world continues to grow yearly. As a result, video games are becoming a mainstream hobby, and it is estimated that by 2023 they will become popular. 3.2 billion players worldwide. 

  • Play where you want. Another reason mobile gaming is the future of gaming is that people want to be able to access their games wherever they are.
  • Improved Graphics. Since smartphones became popular about ten years ago, many mobile games can be played with high-quality and modern mobile game development. 
  • Easy to play. There is no getting around the fact that many mobile games are more accessible than PC and console games. Playing games on a PC or console, you must master the controller and several combinations of moves. Mobile games can usually be downloaded and played without any instructions.

Mobile gaming is a great way to reach a large audience because you don’t need to buy a game console or PC. At the same time, the game is always in your pocket. The industry will continue to evolve and soon there will be casual gamers who enjoy the convenience of mobile gaming.