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JFK1980

Newbie after some rough costs and timescales on a project.

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I've been directed here by someone on a gaming forum, suggesting that you guys may be able to give me some more comprehensive answers to some questions. Apologies if this is the wrong forum to post in, but I am technically a beginner. ;) We are a UK web development company and one of our clients has approached us, on behalf of their client, with a rather tall order, compared to what we usually cater for. We've been asked by the client, who needs to be brought back down to planet earth, to get some rough figures for developing a simple game for WiiWare, iPhone and BlackBerry. The game is to be used solely for marketing and only aimed at their employees. It sounds like the biggest waste of time and money ever, but we need to tell them why and then come up with possible alternatives. The game would only be something simple like Labyrinth (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/labyrinth/id284571899), but we really want to be totally realistic and basically tell them that they are dreaming. I need a rough cost and timescale for each platform and the language(s) they'd be written in, as this would all have to be outsourced by us if they still decide they want to go ahead. I understand, from some research already, that WiiWare isn't an easy platform to get involved with, but they may still want the other two options anyway. Thanks in advance for you help.

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Original post by JFK1980
We've been asked by the client, who needs to be brought back down to planet earth, to get some rough figures for developing a simple game for WiiWare, iPhone and BlackBerry. The game is to be used solely for marketing and only aimed at their employees. It sounds like the biggest waste of time and money ever, but we need to tell them why and then come up with possible alternatives.

What is this supposed to mean? You don't mention numbers, so it is impossible to say about whether the price offered is too low, or you have incorrect assumptions about the cost of such development. There is also no mention of what deadlines mean.

So perhaps a hint to even know what we're talking about. What price? 4 digits? Low 5? High 5? Low 6? What time scale? A week? A month? A year?

Would you be able to produce all the art and design? If 3D, could you at least produce textures?

How much experience do you have with outsourcing? Are you even aware of the options that exist within EU? How much do you have in way of managing projects?

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Sorry, perhaps I wasn't being clear enough about what I'd been asked to research. This is totally new ground for us.

Not being games developers, we'd have to find third parties to develop these games. I was just wondering how long it would take to produce a game like Labyrinth and what the cost would be. So I can then go back to my client and tell them how much they should be budgeting for.

We would have no part in this project, ourselves, other than acting as a link between the client and the (potential) developer(s).

A general ball park figure for the timescale and the price, for each platform, is what I'm asking for. What could I expect to be charged when approaching a developer?

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Figure the WiiWare game will probably cost half a million US dollars and is impractical because a Nintendo license is needed and won't be gotten.

As for the iPhone and Blackberry apps, figure anywhere from $100K to $500K each, perhaps towards the low end of that.

Those figures would be hard to back up with facts. But if you are asked for more info, use these to give you some ideas:
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson10.htm
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/finances.htm
http://gamedeveloper.texterity.com/gamedeveloper/2009fall/#pg33

You'll also probably find articles about past successful iPhone products (including dev costs) on Gamasutra, IndustryGamers, here on this site, and in mainstream media sites like LATimes.

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Original post by JFK1980
A general ball park figure for the timescale and the price, for each platform, is what I'm asking for. What could I expect to be charged when approaching a developer?

There's no charge for approaching a developer and requesting a project bid.
The iPhone game might take one to four months. I assume the same for Blackberry.

BTW, most American developers charge around $11K to $12K per man-month.
Western European developers charge around 20% less. Developers in other regions of the world charge considerably less (as low as 70% less than American developers), per a Beriah study.

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[quote]Original post by Tom Sloper
Quote:

There's no charge for approaching a developer and requesting a project bid.


Yeah, we wanted some kind of benchmark to compare any quotes against, but your figures have been extremely helpful. Will now see if we can get some quotes from a developer and go back to our client.

Thanks again.

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Original post by JFK1980
We are a UK web development company


Quote:
Not being games developers, we'd have to find third parties to develop these games.


So tell them you don't make games, full stop. Finding third party developers isn't your responsibility. You're not headhunters either. What exactly do they want you to do - transform their idea into a game design or something? You're not game designers, either. You're web developers.

Quote:
It sounds like the biggest waste of time and money ever, but we need to tell them why and then come up with possible alternatives.


So have a chuckle and get back to web development. Maybe offer to make them a web page with the same net effect (assuming a game isn't really useful for the purpose) and show them how cheaply you can do *that*. Criticizing their business plan isn't your responsibility, either.

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I tend to agree with Zahlman that this sounds like something you really don't want to be in the middle of. Game development is tough if you know what you're doing. If you don't it can go spectacularly wrong. Add to this a client that knows nothing about games and will expect you to sort it out if anything goes wrong and you become the meat in the sandwich.

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Yeah,

Even if you're currently in business with them, I think the correct answer is: "Sorry we have no experience developing games and cannot advise you on this matter".

I can see that you're trying to spin this in your favor by converting it into a business opportunity for you. However, that's pretty risky. They're probably asking other people as well; some jackass is going to quote a low price and claim they know what they're doing. This will make you look super "uneducated" and like rip-off artists in the companies eye and could submarine other business opportunities you might otherwise have with them in the future.

Advising on things you don't know about seems like bad bidnizz to me [smile]

- me

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