Creating high quality video games for modern consoles and PCs is a tough job. Churning out the latest ultra-realistic chartbuster requires hundreds of people working behind the scene for thousands of hours. So exactly, how much does it cost to develop a video game?
M2 Research analyzed the condition of the gaming industry in 2009 and found that development costs for the current generation consoles have soared. While, prior consoles had a development cost ranging between $3 and 5 million per platform, the average costs for modern consoles are around $10 million for one platform and $18-$28 million for multiple platforms.
Casual and social games obviously have a lower development cost. Development cost for most of these games (having a development cycle of 6 months) is between $30k and $300k. Mobile and iPhone games cost even less, generally in the range of $5k – $20K per title.
While chartbusters like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 raked in billions of dollars, the soaring development and production costs represent a huge risk. As a result most newcomers are focusing on being smart about choosing their target audience and ensuring a good ROI (return on investment).