Interactive entertainment media industry analyst Wanda Meloni is joining the 2009 financial weigh-in party. In her breakdown of the ups and downs of the year, she sheds some light on just how expensive it is to make games.
For previous console generations, she says, the cost of development has been US$3 - 5 million per platform. Nowadays, however, she estimates that the average cost of making one game for one platform is $10 million while multiplatform releases clock in at $18 - $28 million.
Developing games for Facebook, the iPhone and other social media or mobile gaming platforms is far cheaper thanks to lower production costs. Meloni puts the cost of developing social media/casual games at $30 - $300 thousand on a six month development cycle and mobile/iPhone games at $5 - $20 thousand with four months of development.
Meloni estimates that in 2010, more developers will be experimenting with tools to streamline development, switch up distribution models and ways to include microtransactions. The key word, she says, is ROI -- "return on investment."
THE BRIEF - 2009 Ups and Downs [M2 Research]