By Juegostudio | Virtual Reality | October 5th, 2020

Upping the VR Game: The different stages, facts and cost of VR Game Development

There is a whole new world waiting out there when you wonder about the possible applications of Virtual Reality and how it can better our lives. However, most are at a very nascent stage of development and acceptance, barring Virtual Reality (VR) games that have already created a comfortable space and market among users and developers.  

Given the success course, Virtual Reality games are bound to go places in the future, as many are testing the waters. This process often begins with pondering over the costs involved in Virtual Reality game development. A basic duration and cost analysis are crucial to effectively manage resources once a project starts.

In this blog post, we’ll breakdown the cost of Virtual Reality game development in easy-to-understand stages to facilitate informed decision making.

Ideation Phase

The idea and vision are two aspects that make or break a game even before its development has begun. A fair amount of time and energy is invested in carrying out the necessary research, fact collection, player surveys, project feasibility, competitor technology, etc.

The Game Document produced as an outcome of this stage serves as the charter for the entire project. Ideally, the client, lead engineers, lead designers, top executives, and project managers are involved at this stage. The wheels of development run only when the ideation stage has instilled certain confidence and assurance among clients, executives, and producers.

Prototype

It is a pre-development stage where some preliminary designing and development are carried out to conceptualize the project. This prototype or model conceptualization is necessary to lay a foundation for the final product. Typically it includes the development of the game plot, characters, the game landscape, as well as core principles or guidelines.

Programmers, designers, and other artists are some of the people involved at this stage. Deciding upon the graphic design of the game is of primary importance in developing a game document. Virtual Reality games have general graphic categories like 360 Camera, 2D Graphics, 3D Graphics, Photorealistic Imagery, etc.

Development

The most time consuming and expensive stage in any game development cycle (Marketing at times surpasses this cost also, but is counted as a post-development expenditure) is the development. A vast team of designers, artists, and developers work together closely to bring the game to life.

Special Tools for development –  The specialized software and tools for Virtual Reality game development are costly. Moreover, resources like Gohar VR, Unity, UE4, etc. need expert developers who have experience working with these to extract maximum benefit from the various features these technologies offer.

Hardware Experts – Virtual Reality games garner huge hardware acquisition costs (Devices like HTC Vive, Gear VR, etc.). The increased complexity and intricacy of the game often require hiring Virtual Reality hardware experts.

Audio Experts – Background music, event sounds, character voices, etc., add to the charm of the game by adding emotion and a reality element to the game. A choice between using the stock sounds or creating an original by audio artists decides the audio cost of the game.

The cost of server space or cloud space is also an added expenditure to the developer for the game development.

Testing

The importance of thorough testing can not be exaggerated for any level of development, let alone something as complex and huge as a Virtual Reality game.

 A team of game testers – general and specialists – are hired for pushing the game at its limits and generating a comprehensive bug report. Virtual Reality game testers have to be proficient in handling the Virtual Reality special hardware as well. Testing is also a time taking and costly (less than development) stage of development, nonetheless crucial. In certain Virtual Reality games, this can easily go up as high as 25% of the total project cost.

Post – Development

The successful release of a game doesn’t mark the end of expenditure from a client’s side.

– Publishing and Marketing are two significant costing heads in this category. Online and offline advertisements, Promotional events like game marathons, Competitions, Festivals, etc are some of the most expensive activities.

– Versions – a loyal game audience always demands newness – new levels, characters, accessories, etc – which calls for essential game updates or the release of a new version altogether. These updates are billed according to hours put in by developers, testers, etc.  

– Non-development related costs – Accounting, Legal, Patent, Translation, Permits, Licenses, etc fall under this category.

– Ongoing costs – Technical assistance for users, maintenance, and upkeep of the game are some common cost factors that incur in keeping the game experience free from any bugs and issues after release. 

Non – Development related costs

Aside from the expenditures incurred in the game development stages, other major factors also contribute heavily in determining the Virtual Reality game development cost. Such as:

– The Geographical location of developers

– The Reputation of the development studio

– Years of Experience in Virtual Reality development

– A crunched Timeline

– Desired game quality

– Game genre (Single-player, Multi-player, AAA, etc.)

– Inclusion of special features

The cost for software development varies widely across the globe. Offshore software development has become a cottage industry in India, Asia, and Latin America, where developers often work for pennies on the dollar, with a corresponding level of work quality. At present India is the hub of Game outsourcing.  

Conclusion

An average costing figure for a basic Virtual Reality game can be somewhere around $10,000, the intermediate falling into the $30,000 – $100,000 bracket and AAA or multiplayer Virtual Reality games topping the chart in millions of dollars. These generic development costs move upwards if a client visualizes a more complex or quality rich project.

Virtual Reality game development costs can’t be pinpointed in the absence of particulars like game classification, development platform, features, etc. There will always be some last-minute changes or unforeseen expenses. However, this does not indicate the non-possibility of getting a proper figure. Experienced developers at Juego Studio can help you with this. They have years of experience and expert knowledge in making Virtual Reality game , which positions them well for estimating a close-figure based on your specific Virtual Reality game needs and vision.