How Much Does It Cost To Make A AAA Video Game In 2024?


What Are AAA Games?

AAA games are big-budget games that have a huge scope and a million-dollar budget. These games have realistic graphics, complicated game mechanics, and expansive game worlds to provide an immersive gaming experience to the players.

When you take AAA games, they mostly fall under genres such as action-adventure, real-time strategy, fighting games, shooting games, and narrative games. It takes nearly 2 to 5 years to develop a AAA game. Some games can even exceed more than that.


Cyberpunk 2077  is one the most expensive AAA games ever made which spent a whopping $313 million in game development.

What is the average AAA game budget for 2024?

The cost to make a AAA video game can be anywhere from $50 million to $300 million dollars. It depends on various factors from production to post-production stages of game development, complexity of the game and many other factors.

Next we have discussed the list of 5 highly grossing AAA video games and their development costs.

Factors That Influence AAA Game Development Cost

1. Graphics And Content Creation

AAA games have impressive high-quality graphics. In earlier days, 2D graphics were used to build games. Some of the very successful games franchises such as Super Mario and Sonic used 2D in their games.

But now most AAA game art services prefer 3D graphics over 2D due to their high-picture quality. They use advanced 3D modeling and rendering techniques like ray tracing, rasterization, etc., to create an immersive game world.

In order to perform advanced 3D modeling and rendering they need suitable hardware and infrastructure. The minimum cost to develop and deploy hardware and infrastructure is roughly around $20,000 and it can exceed more than $5,00,000 based on the game.

Furthermore, the characters should be able to perform various activities like shooting, jumping, crouching, getting hit, running, attacking, etc. simultaneously making sure they are in accordance with the physics.

In order to create so much content you will need more advanced GPU, processors, and storage. Apart from that, game developers also use multiple GPUs to create high-resolution 3D models.

2. Audio and Sound Effects

Voice artists are hired to create unique and personalized voices for game characters. $451 (per hour, per voice) is the standard minimum rate for a video game voice actor.

Famous actors like Kristen Bell, Mathew Perry, and Keanu Reeves have given voices to some of the very famous video game characters. Hiring famous voice actors and celebrities will cost much more than the standard rate.

Keanu Reaves

Source: Fandom. Keanu Reeves plays as Johnny Silverhand in Cyberpunk 2077.

Despite character voices, there are so many sound effects such as weapons, vehicle sounds, wind, and firing. Additionally, there is background music and theme music for the game.

The game developers take to the studio to record unique soundtracks for their games. This is a time-consuming and cost-effective process.

And if they are using the music of other artists, they need to get proper authorization and sort out the licensing issues.

3. Game Engines and Tools

Epic Games used its own unreal engine to build their popular game Fortnite. It is coded with C++ language and comes with extraordinary game development features.

Likewise, some games develop their own game engines. This will add to a huge development cost for the game developers. But they are very beneficial and cost-effective for them in the long run.

Whereas some game developers use game engines like Unity, and Unreal to build their games. These game engines are free to use, but if you are earning revenue in millions then you are required to pay a certain amount as service charge for using this game development platform.

Apart from that, there are many game development tools like Maya, 3DS Max, Perforce Helix Core, and Houdini which come with a significant cost.

Besides that, some of the tools used to build mobile games are different from PCs and consoles. So, the mobile game development cost can vary considerably from the development cost of PC and console games.

4. Staffing

Typically AAA games take nearly 2 to 5 years to be made. And most AAA games have more than 100 game developers including game artists, designers, modelers, animators, concept artists, programmers, testers, and project managers.

The game Fortnite had 700 game developers to make the game which took 7 years to complete. For AAA games, when we calculate the employee wage alone, it will be around millions.

GTA 5 game cost

Source: Xbox official site.

Let us take GTA V as an example. The game GTA V employed 1000+ employees and it took one year to develop the game. It is estimated that the average wage of an employee when we calculate will be $10,000 per month, which equals nearly 5 to 10 million per month.

The wage also varies depending on the location of the game studio. If it is a very well-developed city, with the high inflation the cost goes high.

Apart from wages, the company also covers various employee benefits like health insurance, and many other perks.

5. Post-Production Costs

So far we have seen the factors that influence the game production cost. The post-production costs account for more than half of the game development cost.

Testing and QA

Testing is one of the very important processes in game development. When you take AAA games, they have many game assets and an open-game world, there is a risk of unforeseen bugs and technical glitches.

Hence, the game goes through multiple tests in alpha and beta phase to test the performance and functionality of the game.

Localization and Internationalization

Localization and internationalization are very important processes in game development. It includes translation, making changes to go with the local trend and culture, and other technical changes.

This process should be handled by very experienced professionals, if not it might spoil a good gameplay experience for the players. This consumes a huge chunk of money from your game budget.

Pre-Launch Prep Up

Last minute brushing up costs a significant amount because all the arrangements and changes such as ad campaigns, distribution platforms, release date, etc., that need to be done should be done before the game launch.

The game developers would be actively analyzing user data and collecting feedback from the beta testers and the audience. If there are any concerns, they will need to address them quickly.

Let us consider a last minute scenario where the game release was set on the wrong date without properly analyzing the data. It might create a massive impact on their sales.

Alexander Sliwinski, the COO of Bithell Games asks game developers to set aside 20 to 30 percent of their game development budget to tackle unforeseen expenses. Because time and again, you cannot avoid these expenses.

Licensing and Insurance Costs

Licensing and Insurance are one of the important factors that influence the game development cost. Legal fees, game licensing fees, IP licensing, and compliance with laws and regulations are some of the cost factors.

Another cost factor includes the game insurance. There are many types of insurance such as general liability insurance, cyber security insurance, employee insurance, errors and omissions, public and product liability, and many more.

Game developers need to ensure that the legal and compliance fees and game insurance are sorted out before the game release to avoid any legal charges in the future course.

6. Marketing

You might not actually believe it, but many AAA game development studios spend half of the video game development cost in marketing. Experts point out that on average 30% of the total game development cost is spent on marketing the game.

As much as it is important to make successful games, it is also important to bring them to the right audience.

In order to take the game to the targeted audience, they follow multiple marketing strategies such as in-game marketing, influencer marketing, advertising, and social media marketing.

Travis Scott

Source: Fortnite Boards. Travis Scott’s virtual concert was attended by 12 million concurrent players and it is one of the best video game concerts to date.

Additionally, they also conduct marketing campaigns from time to time. There are many successful campaigns that helped to improve player engagement and overall gaming experience in video games.

To name a few of them, we have mentioned Fortnite’s “Travis Scott Virtual Music Event”, and Assassins Creed’s “My Life as an NPC”. They have contributed to the increased user engagement with the game due to their clever strategy.

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A Detailed Cost Breakdown of AAA Games

We have provided a detailed breakdown of AAA game development costs spent by game studios. These costs can vary for a mobile game development company and a PC game development company.

Content Creation Cost: $1 million — $10 million+

Software Development Cost: $5 million — $50 million+
(includes game engines, tools, testing, UI/UX, etc.,)

Hardware and Infrastructure Development Cost: $500,000 — $2 million+

Staffing Cost: $ 5 million — $20 million+ (per year)

Server and Hosting Cost: $50,000 — $500,000+ (per month)

Legal and Compliance Cost: $100,000 — $500,000+

Game Insurance Cost: $50,000 — $300,000+

How To Develop AAA Games Within The Given Budget?

The process of creating a AAA game is difficult and resource-intensive, and it frequently requires a large financial commitment. But it is possible to produce excellent games within budget by using smart planning and effective resource management. Here are some critical strategies for developing AAA games within a budget.

Proper Planning

Proper planning is the foundation for cost-effective game development. It involves establishing clear objectives, scope, and milestones. By meticulously planning each phase, from pre-production to launch, developers can anticipate possible obstacles, allocate resources wisely, and avoid costly delays. With effective planning you can ensure that each team member understands their role, resulting in a cohesive and efficient development process.

Agile Methodology

Agile methodology is essential for managing complex game development projects. It focuses on iterative progress, adaptability, and collaboration among teams. By breaking the project into smaller, manageable segments, teams can focus on high-priority features while maintaining flexibility to adapt to changes. This approach not only increases productivity but also aids in the maintenance of a tight budget by reducing wasteful effort and resources.

Structured Workflow

Creating a structured workflow is critical for streamlining game development. It involves organizing tasks, establishing clear deadlines, and creating communication channels. A well-defined workflow encourages transparency, helps track progress, and ensures that resources are used efficiently. This organized approach reduces the risk of project delays and cost overruns, ensuring that the development remains within budget.

Asset Reuse

Asset reuse is a feasible method of lowering development costs. It includes employing existing assets, such as textures, models, or code, in new projects. This not only saves both money and time, but also ensures that the game’s aesthetic remains consistent. You should keep an organized asset library to make it easier to find and reuse assets, optimizing the production process and budget.


Outsourcing is a cost-effective solution for game development, allowing gaming studios to gain access to specialized skills without the overhead of full-time employees. You can focus on core game aspects by outsourcing specific tasks such as art, animation, and testing to third-party companies or freelancers.

Scalable Technology

For developing games at a low cost, adopting scalable technology is essential. Game engines, middleware, and cloud services provide scalability, allowing you to adjust resources based on the project’s requirements. By choosing scalable solutions, you can avoid large upfront investments and pay for only what they use, significantly lowering development costs while maintaining quality.


To sum up, the AAA game development costs can range between $50 million to $300 million. It can even extend up to 1 billion dollars. There are various factors such as the graphics, audio and sound effects, game development tools, staffing, post-production costs, and marketing that influence the game development costs.

The game development cost also depends on the game development company you want to hire. If you do not have a budget constraint, you can hire an established game development company or otherwise you can hire a startup which when compared will cost much less than big studios.


 Are you interested in making a AAA game?

Juego Studios is a game development company that has many years of experience in developing AAA games in various genres such as metaverse games, AR/VR games, blockchain games, and many more. We have a talented team of game developers who have hands-on experience in creating games for multiple platforms.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. AAA games are made for mobile platforms too. In recent years, many PC and console devices have optimized their games to be released on mobile devices.

There are three main stages in AAA game development. Those are the pre-production/ conceptualization stage, production stage, and post-production stage.

Star Citizen is the most expensive game to date. It spent $415 million so far in game development.


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