The smartphone revolution has far-reaching effects on many aspects of entertainment, including mobile games. Once limited to simple games with low-quality graphics, the mobile games sector has today grown to encompass a vast variety of games. From standard puzzle and shooter games to new age social and multi-player games, the market for mobile gaming has been steadily growing in leaps and bounds.
High-end devices like iPhones and iPads have fuelled the creation of hundreds of complex games for a variety of target audiences. Given the potential future of this industry, many gaming studios are focusing on mobile game development. Here’s a look at factors that determine mobile game development costs and some cost-effective strategies for studios.
Generalized figures on the exact cost of mobile game development are not of much use since true costs are dependent on a number of factors. The cost of development depends on the type of game, the complexity of the graphics and game art, mobile UI design as well as vendor costs.
iOS, Android, and Windows Game Development Costs
Broadly speaking, Android game development is typically cheaper than development for iOS devices like the iPhone and Ipad. However, in the current scenario, cross-platform development is the norm for almost every mobile game, in order to ensure more widespread engagement. Most reliable game design companies today offer cross-platform integration.
Cost Effective Strategies for Mobile Game Development
In the highly competitive sphere of mobile game development, timing is everything. Studios need to tap into current trends and create high-quality games within a limited time period. What’s more, creating good games requires access to a highly skilled and specialized pool of artists, developers, and testers. For many studios, regularly hiring this type of talent is not financially feasible. Therefore outsourcing a portion of the game development is a viable, cost-effective strategy. Outsourcing allows studios to save on hiring costs, get access to specialized talents and roll out products faster.
When it comes to outsourcing game development, there are two ways to go:
• Nearshore outsourcing:
Nearshore development involves outsourcing work to companies that are in relatively close proximity to the outsourcing company. Nearshore outsourcing allows easier coordination and facilitates closer working relationships between both parties.
• Offshore outsourcing:
Offshore development involves outsourcing work to companies that are located in different countries. The main advantage of offshore development is a significant reduction in costs, resulting in lesser capital expenditure for the client. Choosing a development company in a different timezone can also accelerate development and speed up timelines.
Mobile Game Development Cycle – What can be Outsourced?
In order to break down the costs of mobile game development, it’s necessary to understand which tasks in the development cycle can be outsourced for maximum efficiency.
In a nutshell, the mobile game development cycle can broadly be split up into 3 main phases:
Pre-production: The pre-production stage includes design and development of overall game concepts, concept art design, basic character design and the building of initial game prototypes.
Production: The production phase is typically the most intense phase where the majority of game development happens – finalization of game assets, the building of levels, coding, scripting, and programming.
Testing: This stage involves extensive testing and debugging on various platforms and devices that the game is required to be compatible with.
Typically, the pre-production phase is best outsourced to nearshore companies, since there’s a lot of coordination and iterations required to finalize the concept.
Tasks in the production phase including coding and development can be outsourced to offshore markets as this offer highly skilled talent at relatively lower prices.
Offshore Mobile Game Development Costs
The costs of offshore development can vary widely, with developers charging up to 100$ per hour and others charging as less as 10$ per hour. Since offshore development can be risky, it’s better to rely on factors other than just price. Choosing specialized developers with skills in working with popular game engines like Unity and Unreal can help create high-quality mobile games.
If you decide to opt for offshore game development, it’s advisable to choose companies based in countries that can offer access to skilled talent, who have the relevant education and familiarity with the required technologies. Ukraine and Belarus offer outsourcing solutions at competitive prices. India has long been the default choice for outsources as it offers skilled, educated workers at reasonable costs. Other popular markets for offshoring mobile game development are Brazil in South America and South East Asian countries.
The best strategy for studios while choosing mobile game developers is to opt for a combination of talent, reliability, manpower, and cost-effectiveness.