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Costs of "simple" Game Production

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Hello Game Dev Community,

like most people nowadays i'm involved in Gaming for years now and I've seen genres come and go. RTS, MMORPGs basically died only hardcore fans are left and now MOBAs decline and it seems like Strategy game players can't play one game longer than a few years. My idea is a competitive Tower Defense Game 1v1 or 2v2 not 100% similar to  Clash Royale but I think its still the best comparison. I'm not a professional graphics person nor a great programmer so its hard for me to show what my idea would look like.

If someone has some time and wants to give me a very dare guess on what the production of a Clash Royale game with graphics on League of Legends level and multiple turret variations would cost that would be great.

Thanks already have a nice day.

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Your idea is for a freemium mobile multiplayer game? I haven't produced one of those, so I googled it and found these:



Your game could cost anywhere from $50,000 to millions of US dollars. And that's just for the initial release. Once the game has gone live, you have done only 25% of the work.

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Okay this is actually a great answer and very fast thank you very much. A freemium PC, Mobile multiplayer it would be yes. Reading through these articles and I found some other ones for PC as well my estimate would be around 100k just to get a good functioning basis which is higher than I thought it would be. Maybe its lower because the concept is insane simple but would rather assume its too high then too low. Completing the game would be extremely hard too so yea. I will look up some financing information and thank you again.

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1 hour ago, horuz said:

A freemium PC, Mobile multiplayer it would be yes.

PC too? Not only mobile? $100K is too low. Expect it to be 5 times that, at minimum.

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From my experience Indie games cost around $165 000 - $180 000 to develop. So if we consider a Professional person is worth +/- $50 000 and a amateur is worth +/- $22 000; based on salary of the average worker. We can use this to see how many people is needed.

$165 000 - $150 000 (3 professionals) = 1 year and a $15 000 budget. Or 6-8 months with a team of 5-6 professionals.

A team of 3 untrained people working on a indie game takes almost 3 years to make a mobile game.


Now these numbers are rough estimates but comparing them with my own experiences from making my own games, contracting for small teams and volunteering on hobby teams, I can say this is very accurate numbers.

8 hours ago, horuz said:

A freemium PC, Mobile multiplayer it

Making a game for more than one platform is almost the same as making a new game. Even mobile games that publish to both Android and IOS are very different versions because the specs of Android and IOS is different. Not to mention that IOS has a lot of gates that a developer needs to get around to publish on their marketplace.

My advice is either stick to Desktop(easiest) or to Android. Only once your game is making good money on one platform should you consider publishing to another platform.

Edited by Scouting Ninja
I can't even spell: amateur :)

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On 4/13/2018 at 9:48 AM, horuz said:

dare guess on what the production of a Clash Royale game with graphics on League of Legends level and multiple turret variations would cost that would be great.

Based on their Wikipedia article, Riot started as a group in a basement in 2006, they needed two rounds of funding bringing in $7M in 2008 for the first, $8M in 2009 for the second. That funded them through the initial release in 2009 when the game did amazingly well.

Supercell has a more tricky history since they were already doing things. It looks like they had about $12M in funding which helped them build Clash of Clans, Hay Day, and the others they acquired quite a bankroll. I note that they had three commercial failures before their first moderate success.  SoftBank had bought them out and the company had an estimated worth of $4B before Clash Royale entered development.

Looking at it another direction, the typical estimation is to count the number of work-months and add four zeros, or $10K per person per month.  In expensive regions it is now closer to $15K per person per month, but whatever works for you. Look over the credits list of games you feel are comparable to what you want, then do some multiplication of development months, number of people, and cost per month.


From your minimal description, if you require that same production quality with a broad commercial release, that will easily cost $10M, probably more.

Also note that LoL has had enormous work since that initial launch, so they're probably even more than that if you want TODAY's quality. $15M or $20M, perhaps?

But that's only because you dared us to guess the cost of two commercial projects that ship globally.

If you're looking for a hobby game that only has a small number of graphics and no testing, no marketing, no public release, the cost would be far less.

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I think one aspect you need to take in consideration is where you are going to develop it and how you are going to develop it. If you are located in a 3rd world country or 2nd world country you could have a significantly lower budget and production costs (you could probably get professional coders/graphics artists for as low as 20k /year)

You could cheap out by using freelancers to do one aspect like graphics but this would work only if you have strong skills on other levels , like do most of the coding yourself in your spare time and not count that investment.

But as you want a mobile/PC game i imagine targeting iOS / Android/ Mac OS/Windows and Linux , i doubt you could pull it off without a sizeable investment, either that or do it solo in 5+ years.

Edited by CrazyApplesStudio

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guess i will step in before more young developers gets turned off by comments in this thread (not digging up last year's topic (ayy), google directed me here).

pretty much every comment from last year talks about hundreds of thousands or milions of dollars and that is not correct to author's question. We do not speak about AAA/e-sports games here but mobile games rather.

let's start by digging into project (i am not game dev yet but making games is no different than making apps or websites even). So we need:

networking - synchronous battles, users, chat
client based game for iOS and Android, possibly other platforms
authorative server that will scale

1. cross-platform development
since this is our first-ish game, using game engine would be wise idea. LibGDX or Unity should do, depends whether u want 2D or 3D game and installer size matters. If not, let's just stick with unity for good measure. There are thousands of guides and tutorials on how to start with it so don't worry, you will quickly find a way needed to publish games on mobile with simple steps.
Since it might be similar to clash royale, we will probably use 3d assets. download free template kit for tower defense game from unity or see guides/tutorials of how tower defense works behind the scenes. change some assets, try making game single player (lobby screen, start random match). When you are satisfied with sample, continue to networking.

2. authorative server will probably be best way for online game. first start researching good cloud backends for gaming such as playfab. SDK is easy to implement and theres ton of guides how to do it with unity. It will enable matchmaking, room generation, sessions and all kinds of things for your game. Alternatively, try some opensource or free backend engines such as colyseus.io
With that, you will be able to implement multiplayer mechanics to your game.

if you had to pay for assets, just by trying to get it done, we are looking probably at $30-$50 for assets that may or may not be customised at all (be sure to see licensing to assets you bought) - yes all assets, not one file each. 
you will need to implement multiplayer into single game that you probably can get through unity assetsstore as well so only your time will be required here. Plenty of examples, just follow them.
Cloud platforms tend to charge for indie licensing but you would probably get away with persnal gamesparks license that is completely free until 100000 MAU (monthly active users). For typical pricing it's around $100 monthly for indie. Otherwise use engine to develop own server (all it needs to do is to authenticate users, process payments and store data). Going this route you will need dedicated machine to host it 24/7 which might be costly.

tl;dr; we are looking at 1-5k us dollars for whole package that uses pre-made assets or require minor asset editing (changing colors or remodelling) and publishing to desired platforms + i dont know how much to get your company going, get trademarks and all that law bs that you will find on different parts of this forum.

i would recommend watching some tutorials on unityTD overall, here is very good example:


remember @horuz - u do not need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to make games. not anymore, it's 2019 already. Most code is already open sourced and there is many cloud based backends that will implement complex networking for your game for low price. If you are not making multimilion user game, you probably don't need to develop/create everything from scratch.

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Posted (edited)
On 4/13/2018 at 1:20 PM, Scouting Ninja said:

From my experience Indie games cost around $165 000 - $180 000 to develop.

In my experience (>100 shipped titles to date, including multiple indie games), this does not add up.

The common misconception is that indies earn less, but they also tend to know less, and often come across issues that end up taking them twice as long to make. Typically, this does not manifest as one feature takes twice as long, but rather, 20 features later, you realize the rabbit hole you're in and need to refactor extensively (and few give up or reboot the game altogether at that point).


I've yet to see an indie game under 200k (even as a single player experience).


Note: I've decided to necro post as it felt like a somewhat recurring issue and that the rest of this thread was otherwise rather relevant and informative.

Edited by Orymus3
described in post

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