Mobile Game App Development Cost: App Budget Guide

By Ronak Patel   |   3 August, 2022
Mobile Game App Development Cost: App Budget Guide

Quick Summary:

Developing an Mobile game app is a booming industry. Due to their extreme popularity and engrossing features, mobile games like PUBG and Call of Duty are among the most played games in the current digital age. Amazing visuals, challenging multiplayer gameplay, and remarkable features are all things that gamers adore in games. A new frontier in mobile game app development is being reached by games like Arizona Sunshine, which provide this through the utilization of cutting-edge technology like augmented reality and virtual reality. This blog will shed light on the questions such as how much does it cost to develop mobile games? Along with other necessary information required to gain a footing in the industry.

Mobile Gaming now accounts for over 50% of the overall market for the gaming industry, and this trend is expected to continue. The explanation for this is straightforward, installing games on smartphones is the most easiest way because of their wide coverage and lack of complicated installation procedures.

All those looking to enter this growing sector are curious about how much it will cost to produce mobile games. The average price of developing a mobile game is between $3,000 and $1 Million+. It’s doubtful that you will consider such a spread to be a valid response to your query, though. A deeper exploration of the game-making process is required to comprehend how the pricing is determined. But before that to gain a clear picture of where the gaming industry stands at present take a look at the following stats.

Mobile Gaming Market Share And Statistics

Investing in the Development of Mobile Games has never been more lucrative than it is now. Look at some market data to support the statement, shall we?

According to Statista,

  • The mobile games market is expected to generate US$41.71 billion in revenue by 2022
  • The anticipated market volume by 2027 is US$59.34 billion, with revenue predicted to expand at a 7.31 percent annual rate (CAGR 2022-2027)
  • By 2027, there should be 182.0 million people playing mobile games, according to predictions
  • By 2022, user penetration will be 44.9 percent, and by 2027, it is predicted to be 52.9 percent
  • In terms of worldwide comparison, China will produce the greatest income ($47,220.00m in 2022)
  • It is anticipated that in 2022, the average revenue per user (ARPU) for the mobile games market would be $277.60

How Much Does It Cost To Develop A Mobile Game?

Now that you have a clear idea, of how popular the mobile gaming market is, the first question that comes to mind is How Much Does It Cost To Develop a Mobile Game?

Mobile games are generally developed for Google Play Store for Android and the App store for iOS. The cost can range from $3000 for basic games and will reach to a hefty budget of $1Bn+ for complex game applications.

Cost To Develop A Mobile Game

It is advised to bear in mind that costs might change based on the application’s ability to incorporate the features you want, the design style, the testing it gives, and a few other aspects. For iOS compared to Android, features like payment systems and system management are more costly. The games are split into three levels for easier understanding:

Game App Type Cost Estimation Time
Small Games $3,000 to $55,000 2-5+ months
Mid-Level Games $60,000 to $1,20,000 3-6+ months
AAA Games Starting from $3,00,000 More than 10 months

Now that you have somewhat an idea of what is the Mobile Game App Development Cost. Let’s understand the factors that impact your budget estimation for Mobile Game App Development.

Factors Affecting Mobile Game App Development Cost

So how can you figure out the Cost of Developing Mobile Games? When developing a mobile game, several different perspectives are taken into account. Let’s look at the main factors influencing Mobile Game Development Costs:

Factors Affecting Mobile Game App Development Cost

Game Complexity

The complexity of game development is one of the major factors that affect the Cost of Developing a Mobile Game. It is possible that some of the applications may be simple enough and might not cost much but other times various high-profiling gaming features, voice integration, and graphics for developing games. These features can enhance the mobile game app development cost. For a better understanding of the games are divided into 5 categories.

One of the key elements influencing the Cost of Developing a Mobile Game is how complicated the game is to develop. Various high-profiling gaming features, voice integration, and visuals for game development may occasionally be present in programs, while others may be sufficiently straightforward and inexpensive to use. The cost of developing a mobile gaming app may increase as a result of adding the advanced features. The games are separated into five categories for easier comprehension.

Type of Game Cost To Develop Mobile Game
Mini-Games (e.g 2048) $1000 – $2000
Small Games (e.g Subway surfer)  $1500 – $30000
Medium Games (e.g Among us)  $20000 – $60000
Large Games (e.g Clash Royale)  $50000 – $2000000
AAA Games (e.g Call of Duty)  $2000000 – $5000000

Design Layout

To draw in the intended audience, the design layout is an important factor. To make your graphics fantasies a reality, it comprises game levels, gameplay, game architecture, and the number of displays. Additionally, it enables the integration of extra elements to improve player involvement with the game. You are now aware of the features of the program once you have chosen the game category and genre. Social media integration will be sufficient if the game is straightforward. The Mobile Game Development Cost will go up if you decide to create a complicated game like PUBG since you’ll need to include features like voice integration, multiplayer, internet access, and more.

Type of Game

Deciding on the vast selection of games might be difficult. But you may use your budget as a general guide for you. You’ll have a proper idea of which type of app you can develop within your budget. Because they take less time to make and require fewer experts and resources to develop 2D games, than compared to 3D games. 2D games are less expensive than 3D games:

Simple 2D Games

For instance, a simple 2D game where you only need to move blocks or capture flying objects will only set you back a maximum of $1000. The cost might go to $3000 if you want anything more elaborate or have a unique idea.

Since the actions are repeated, such games have no finish, and this is not supported by any narrative guidelines. Additionally, in-game purchases can be used to commercialize these goods. For instance, a player may purchase additional time or hint points. The necessity to consider simple Graphics that will be comprehensible to both a small kid and a senior citizen makes it possible for simple games to be complex enough to build.

3D Games

Since 3D games are already three-dimensional, they need characters who have been carefully thought out, cutting-edge graphics, an engaging story, and unexpected gameplay. These are games for players who aren’t happy with basic visuals but aren’t quite equipped for AAA-caliber titles because of time constraints or technical constraints with their hardware. The development of these games can be ranged in cost from $6000 – $3000000.

However, if you want to attract a large number of players to your hardcore gaming network with multiplayer, 3D visuals, and engaging strategic variants it can cost you at least $10000. The server component, which will serve as the foundation for the players to connect online and play together, must also be taken into consideration in addition to the dynamics of engaging players, a sizable number of scenarios, and a variety of 3D models.

Also Read: How to Create an App from Scratch?

Game Category

There are various categories of games available in the market, and all of the games have different complexity, features, and requirements. The average mobile game development cost of developing the game is also impacted by the Category of game:

Action Games

Action games are among the most well-liked mobile game genres. This category includes a wide range of games, including shooting, platforming, and fighting games as well as Battle Royale and other shooting-based games. It’s a great way to exercise your reflexes and brain, plus it gets the blood pumping and the fingers moving. There is no set of mechanics or aesthetics exclusive to action games. The speed at which the game is played and how challenging it is to complete are more important factors in defining an action game. The cost to develop action games such as the game of war mobile development costs ranges from $50000 – $3000000.

Casual Games

With a 58 percent mobile device penetration rate, casual games are one of the game genres that Android users play the most. Some of the finest casual games are there to not only help you pass the time but also to provide a terrific gaming experience. While some casual games, such as Candy Crush and Angry Birds, are nothing more than time wasters. Though they provide a wide range of gaming mechanics and narratives, casual games are of tremendous popularity. They seldom provide a challenging experience that demands intense focus. The Cost of Mobile Game Development for casual games can range from $4000 – $100000.

Puzzle Games

This category includes mobile games that need players to pay significantly more attention to develop a plan and complete the objectives. An easy concept formerly underpinned puzzle games. You complete puzzles to pass the time, although the genre has grown in mobile. One of the most well-liked subgenres on the whole platform. It began with straightforward viral games like 2048 and progressed to truly delightful activities like Monument Valley. The era of ridiculously basic mechanics and aesthetics is over, replaced with intense and complicated apps with imaginative tales and beautiful graphics. These days, there are a lot of excellent puzzle games on Android, both in terms of aesthetics and gameplay. The Development Cost of Puzzle Games for Mobile ranges from $3000 – $10000.

Card Games

A great kind of fun is playing cards. There are many various kinds of card games available, they work worldwide, and they are tiny enough to pack into a bag for travel. They may be divided into three categories, though. Classic card games include Poker, Solitaire, and Spades. Then there are more difficult card games, like Clash Royale, Hearthstone, and Reigns. Then there are your card games for parties, like Exploding Kittens. The Development Cost Card Game for Mobile ranges in $9000 – $100000.

Adventure Games

These games often feature either complicated or straightforward game mechanics, and they typically have a broad scope and plot. With up to 14 million downloads that year, adventure game sales are predicted to reach $19 million in 2022. The average age of players of games like Genshin Impact, and Alien: Isolation is 35, however, there are typically wide demographic differences. The Cost to Develop a Mobile Game in Adventure games falls in the range of $20000 – $4000000.

Arcade Games

Arcade games were incredibly well-liked for a very long period. The majority of the time, they offer straightforward gameplay, regular challenges, and quick play times. As the game advances, they get more difficult, which distinguishes them. Fruit Ninja, Angry Birds, and Doodle Jump are a few well-known examples from the early years of mobile. Players are compelled to continue playing as a consequence of the extremely addicting and pleasurable experience. There aren’t any deep games, and playtimes are often brief. You may therefore enjoy yourself whenever you choose. Although they don’t quite compare to their coin-operated forebears, mobile arcade games may nonetheless be entertaining. The Cost to Develop a Mobile Game in the arcade category ranges from $10000 – $100000

Casino Games

In the previous century, the casino business has been among the most well-liked ones in the entertainment sector. People from all over the world flock to casinos to congregate there and stake their own money in the hopes of striking it fortunate and winning even more. I’m sorry, but Google Play doesn’t have that atmosphere. Apps cannot accept real money wagers since it is against the terms of service. Additionally, with annoying in-app purchase practices, the majority of the well-liked and reliable casino games are available for free to play. As a result, the threshold for what is good is substantially lower than it is for other game genres. The Mobile Game Development Costs for developing Casino games range between $50000 – $300000.

Role-Playing Games

The most devoted gamers of any gaming genre are fans of role-playing games. People spend dozens and occasionally hundreds or even thousands of hours creating characters, playing tales, and having fun in video games like Final Fantasy, World of Warcraft, Monster Hunter stories, and more. There are many RPGs to pick from, and they were one of the first genres on Android to take off. The cost of developing mobile games in the role-playing game category ranges from $10000 – $400000.

AR/VR Games

The development of AR/VR mobile gaming apps is growing widespread across the globe. Depending on the sorts of aspects of business, the price may change. Companies looking to develop augmented reality or virtual reality applications may encounter a variety of inquiries regarding their practical use. Selecting the best AR app development partner will assist you every step of the way and provide all the information you need. The cost of creating a mobile AR/VR gaming application is among the most crucial inquiries.

However, there is no precise formula for calculating how much it will cost to develop augmented reality software. Depending on the features you want to include, the price of VR/AR development might range from $100000 – $4000000.

Apart from this the type of project you want to create along with the project complexity also affects the Average Cost of Mobile Game Development.  The MVP model makes it simple to build apps with little functionality and effort. However, certain applications might be more expensive and take longer to design since they feature specific functionalities. See how complexity impacts the length of time it takes to design an AR app.

Simple MVP App

You may use these applications to effectively communicate your concept to your target market. These applications, which tend to be compact, clear, and easy to use, enable users to visualize ideas in new ways. With simple actions like stacking 3D models, rotating, taking a picture, and more these AR apps typically contain one to five AR models on board.

Personalized AR/VR Application

Make up your customized augmented reality adventures. According to your company’s needs, you may add a variety of capabilities to the app, including the ability to choose an item, view it in detail, and more. The price of an augmented reality app may increase with additional features. The following table shows how development time is allocated.

Selecting Mobile Platform

Android and iOS are the most popular options, as we are all aware. One of the key determinants of app development cost, reach, and income is making the appropriate platform decision. When compared to iOS app development, Android app development might be a little more expensive. However, in terms of market share, Android users outnumber iPhone users in the gaming sector. While the total cost of developing an iPhone app may be lower than that of an Android app, the expense of developing an Apple device’s payment system and administrator is more.

Other than that, developing native apps rather than cross-platform games can be more affordable, but it will also have fewer opportunities to generate income. Though it could be slightly more expensive, cross-platform app development will offer a large user base using a variety of platforms.

Also Read: How to Extend or Build an App Development Team?

Mobile Game Engine

Another crucial factor that impacts the Mobile Game App Development Cost is the game engine used. The selection of a mobile game engine depends on the features, type of game, complexity, and category of the game. There are various mobile game development engines available in the market and selecting the best fit for your project can be a difficult task as each of them has there own benefits and limitations. To make it easy for you we have created a list of some of the popular Mobile Game Engines available in the market.

Popular Mobile Game Engine

Unity

The most well-liked and preferred mobile game creation tool among game creators in the gaming business is unity game development. It’s because this exceptional game development platform from Unity Technologies enables game designers to create graphically stunning 2D and 3D games with top-notch features. Using this technology, developers may collaborate to work on a single project or several projects at once. If importing assets is necessary to give your project more attention-grabbing qualities, you are free to buy various items from Unity’s marketplace.

Unity supports the following platforms for Game Development:

  • Fire OS
  • Android
  • Tizen OS
  • iOS
  • Windows Phone

Unity Subscription Plans

  • Beginners: Free
  • Plus Edition: $399/yr
  • Pro Edition: $1800/yr
  • Enterprise Solution: $200/monthly

Titanium

Titanium is the following in the list of well-liked game development engines. owing to features like modular development and a unified codebase for all mobile devices. Game creators may use this tool, developed Appcelerator, without having to go back and forth between different toolkits and languages. With the Titanium platform, game development is made simpler thanks to its 5000 APIs.

Titanium supports the following platforms for Game Development:

  • Android
  • Hybrid
  • iOS
  • HTML

Titanium Subscription Plans

  • Indie Edition: Free
  • Pro Edition: $199/monthly
  • Enterprise Solution: Custom Pricing

Cocos2d-X

As its name implies, Cocos2d-X is a tool for creating 2D video games that give programmers the ability to complete all of the activities involved in game production in one location. Likewise, resource management, game debugging, previewing, publishing across several platforms, etc. Facebook, the industry leader in social media, is providing this game creation package. Because of this, the platform has a sizable community behind it and extensive documentation, making it simpler for developers—be they novices or seasoned pros—to create 2D games with ease.

Cocos2d-X supports the following platforms for Game Development:

  • iOS
  • Android
  • Windows
  • HTML5
  • Mac

Cocos2d-X Subscription Plans

  • Free

Unreal Engine

A user-friendly feature set in Unreal Engine eliminates the need to modify preexisting code or create new sections while creating video games. Because it didn’t demand any kind of professional experience in building gaming apps, Unreal Engine is preferred. The framework’s remarkable capabilities allow even novice developers to easily create and test a popular mobile game. Impressive 3D visuals may be made with Unreal Engine, which readily holds players’ attention while playing.

Unreal Engine supports the following platforms for Game Development:

  • Windows PC
  • Mac OS X
  • SteamOS
  • Android
  • iOS
  • Linux
  • VR platforms
  • Sony PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • HTML5

Unreal Engine Subscription Plans

  • For Beginners and startups: it’s free
  • Business with gross revenue of $1,000,000 or more: Asks [for payment of 5% royalty.

Also Read: How Much Does it Cost to Hire App Developers

Mobile Game Development Process

It’s critical to understand the step-by-step process while intending to construct a gaming app. You may use this as a summary of each crucial stage of the process for developing mobile applications, which is something that every game developer should have in mind.

PreDevelopment

1. Market Research

By using figures, facts, and opinions, market research examines the market for video game creation. You need to figure out how to balance what you want to do with what other people desire. The information you gain from this approach will help you understand what gamers like playing, what you can create, and why they would purchase your game. In a word, we can state that it entails studying the market to find the best answer. This research includes looking into recent market trends, innovative stylistic approaches, and rival ideas.

2. Game Design Document

The game design paper includes information about the idea, gameplay, and graphic design as well. What is the subject and scope of the gameplay, where and when the game will take place, and what is its plot? The GDD should also involve gathering platform requirements, such as update frequency, language to use, target market (single-player, multiplayer, or more social), etc.

3. Technical Specifications

In this phase, there is a discussion of game mechanics, code objects, game physics, game object data, and a control loop. With these specifications, one can determine the final cost of work. This phase is generally implemented by the technical director or by the lead programmer.

4. Prototyping

This is done by practically all game app development companies to give a preview of the game, as the word implies. The game’s overall concept and the key gameplay are frequently the only elements of the prototype. The information gained from prototypes about potential improvement areas is crucial. For instance, a certain level may be overly difficult (or easy), or it could have features that can be used later. Simply said, prototyping is a broad outline of the game without specifics and artwork that enables you to comprehend the principles and enjoy the comfort of the gaming.  In short, You can learn the principles and enjoy how convenient the gameplay is by playing the prototype, which is a generalized outline of the games without any specifics or artwork.

Production

5. Game Architecture Design

Setting up a strong basis for the development architecture of the app will only enable it to bring enhancements and updates with the least amount of work. It influences the pace at which you’ll be able to show them the most appealing material and dictates overall scalability.

6. Game Programming

This is the phase where all the development has been done. Setting up a server, Creating computer code, API, implementing game visuals by integrating 2D or 3D material, database, and VFX are all examples of programming.

Post Development

7. Game Testing

Similar to game creation, testing is an essential procedure. Even a tiny number of problems are intolerable to gamers. To create a positive user experience, make sure your game plays flawlessly and without any issues. Budget money aside for the game app development company’s testing services. With game testing, identify and fix small issues with or erroneous system operation. QA personnel evaluate:

  • Do users find the game application appealing?
  • Are there any intriguing features in the app?
  • Is the app’s interface intuitive?
  • Accessibility of game features
  • Are the media files of suitable quality?

It is the responsibility of the testers to ensure that the product meets all specifications and is delivered to users without errors.

8. Publication

It’s crucial to keep in mind that apart from Mobile Game App Development Cost, the cost of mobile game release is in addition to the cost of game production. You need to create either an Enterprise or Individual account and pay a charge to publish and distribute your application on Google Play and the App Store. The cost of an Apple store is $99 annually and for Google play, it is $25 for one time. With this cost, you also have access to the store and the developer’s libraries. To design your application in a way that satisfies specific standards, you may find instructions in the developer console. Since all programs must be performed in a manner that is more or less uniform and has a comparable toolkit, the criteria are more rigorously examined for iOS.

9. Marketing

There are daily releases of hundreds of new mobile games. Nobody will be aware of your goods if there is no advertising or advance notification. Involving the marketing element is therefore necessary. One very typical explanation is that individuals entirely ignore the value of shouting about their game while seeking an answer to the query ” how much does it cost to develop a mobile game?”.

Here, two possibilities exist:

  • With the assistance of your team, you may do marketing independently.
  • It is possible to give it to the game development company you worked with.

The second choice is more popular since you may acknowledge your partner’s overall performance while avoiding the conceptual chasm. Teams that carry out full-cycle services provide advertising campaigns, marketing strategy, ASO and SEO optimization, and other services. In advance of its release, the game receives attention through social media promotion. Usually, the price of building a mobile game does not include the cost of marketing services. You may, however, avoid issues like giving a marketing budget over the cost of the game itself if you specify that your development partner handles promotion. For AAA titles, this could be sufficient, but it’s unworkable for small- to medium-sized games.

Also Read: Mobile App Development Best Practices to Follow

Maintenance Cost

Similar to how we maintain our technological gadgets, robust gaming software needs a strong maintenance strategy. Monitoring performance and making ensuring consumers receive updates regularly are essential. One of the vital expenses to think about is maintenance fees. Expenses incurred after the game costs to develop and maintain a mobile app or upgrade it to a newer version should also be included.

Development Region

The cost of developing mobile games also depends on the region you are developing your game application. The cost to hire mobile game developers in a different location is different. They all have different hourly rates so the cost of making a mobile game will also differ from place to place.

The USA is regarded as the most costly country with the greatest cost of living. Local developers charge about $150 per hour. It is expensive since the development of a mobile game typically requires two to four months. It costs a little less in Western Europe. There, game developers will cost you roughly $80 per hour. However, if you go for an East Asian nation, mobile game development costs in India would be considerably lower they’ll charge $15 to $35 per hour.

Developers Expertise

The cost of developing mobile games also depends on the expertise of the developers. The developers are classified into three categories:

Junior Game Developers (6 months to 1 year)

Junior developers have just 6 months to a year of experience because they are still learning. They have basic expertise in application development because they are new to the profession. These developers are usually given simpler jobs that threaten the program. They require constant monitoring and supervision when performing any activity. The normal hourly rate for a Junior game developer is $15.

Mid-Level (2yrs to 5 years)

Small yet critical bugs might be allocated to mid-level game engineers. They have 2 to 5 years of experience and are familiar with internal features and tools. They’ve also developed at least a dozen applications and are skillful in diverse programming languages. The hourly rate of a Mid-Level game developer is $20.

Senior Level (5+ years)

Senior game developers have been around for a long time. They typically have a few years of experience under their belt. They are fluent in several languages. Senior developers may analyze the gaming framework, integrate APIs, manage security concerns, and design apps. The hourly rate of a senior-level iOS developer is $35.

How to Reduce Game App Development Cost

The costs of developing mobile gaming apps have now been thoroughly analyzed. How you lower the price of creating mobile games is one of the topics that can come up. You may receive affordable game development solutions for your needs from us because we also handle this element for you. The handy techniques listed below might help you reduce the price of creating gaming apps.

How to Reduce Game App Development Cost

Take Time in Planning

Discuss the essential elements that should be included in the final app while planning the creation of your gaming app with your team. Select the suggestions that receive the greatest support or that seem logically sound after gathering information from various departments and individuals. Run this test app in the real world and obtain real-world feedback to learn how to advance your game development app process.

Outsource to India

One way to reduce the cost of game development is to outsource it to a location where the mobile game app development cost is less than the location you are. You can outsource the game development project to southeastern countries like India. The mobile game development costs in India can range from <min> to <max>

Cross Platform

If your application is not a large or AAA title game, you can go for a cross-platform option as well. Although there are various benefits of using cross-platform development it is important to check the features that you want to include in the application and the features you can include in the future. It can happen that some features that you want to add should be compatible with the cross-platform such as Flutter.

Also Read: Native Vs Hybrid Vs Cross-Platform App Development

Mobile Game Development Cost Breakdown

At least in part because of the addition of a map service and geolocation technologies, games with augmented reality like Pokemon Go have greater prices. We can now think about the following because information on the costs associated with each stage of making this game is publicly available:

Game development $80,000 – $ 120,000
UI/UX Design $5000 – $25000
Backend Support $60,000 – $ 80,000
Server Cost $1,20,000 – $1,50,000
Testing Support $30,000 – $50,000
Animation $70,000 – $ 90,000
Sound Design $10,000 – $ 20,000
Management Cost $10,000 – $15,000

How Can You Monetize Mobile Game Development?

To ensure that you can make money when people download your app or use it frequently, it is important to have a monetization strategy in mobile gaming apps. You may design apps using the following app monetization strategies, which are the most popular:

Monetize Mobile Game Development

In-app Purchase

This common method of app monetization, which involves adding features that require users to make real money payments, is used by the majority of mobile app developers. The users of these applications can download them for free, but certain of their restricted features will cost them actual money to utilize.

Subscription

Subscription-based monetization, which is the most popular and straightforward, requires users to pay certain sums each month to access the service continually. Users won’t mind paying the membership fees for an app, regardless of price, if it offers a wealth of features and is profitable.

Advertising

If you are a serious gamer, it must be your least favored manner of revenue generation. Everyone dislikes the aggravation that is brought about throughout a game. Monetizing their gaming apps is one of the greatest ways to earn money. Additionally, it encourages players to upgrade to the premium edition of the game, which is free of advertisements.

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Wrapping Up!

The Mobile Game App Development Cost is dependent on the type and category of the game you choose. The Cost of Mobile game development will increase if you’re planning to develop AAA titles and game applications as they require multiple features including multiplayer, maps, voice integration, and more. In the end, it all boils down to your business requirements. However, it is important to make sure that you’re getting the desired quality work for the amount you pay. Make sure to review different mobile game development companies before deciding the one.

Get in Touch!

    Ronak Patel

    Ronak Patel is a CEO and Founder of Aglowid IT Solutions, an ever-emerging Top Web and Mobile Development company with a motto of turning clients into successful businesses. He believes that Client's success is company's success and so that he always makes sure that Aglowid helps their client's business to reach to its true potential with the help of his best team with the standard development process he set up for the company.

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