On average, 43% of time used on mobile devices is on games. And considering mobile phones are the first thing that someone will pick up in the morning and the last thing they’ll put down in the evening, that’s a lot of time to spend on gaming on such a small screen.
It’s safe to say that the era of mobile gaming has just started. But what kind of games are more profitable to develop? And how much does this cost? As a shiny new developer, knowing just where to start can be a daunting task on its own.
At the moment, 7 of the top 10 free games on Google Play are hyper-casual. So in this blog, we’ll be reviewing Voodoo’s Helix jump, and Rise Up (developed by Serkan Özyılmaz), to figure out just exactly how much these types of games cost to develop, and what you should expect when making your own.
Starting with Hyper-casual Mechanics
They’re a bunch of different mechanics you can use when creating hyper-casual games. However, due to the nature of hyper-casual games, none of these need to be overly complex, which means less funding for loads of controls (as close as possible to a “tap to play” game). If we take a look at Helix jump for example (now more than 100 million downloads), the mechanic is simply rotating the sphere.
Of course, every project is unique in its way even if it copies another project’s logic, its functionality can be implemented in several different variants. The price of developing a game depends on several factors such as the country you’re hiring developers from, the size of a company and the chosen game genre. It’s pretty difficult to say exactly how much such publishing giants as Voodoo invest into their mechanics. However, our game development team can give an approximate cost of development based on our experience with the average Eastern European developer hourly rates.
Every game starts with a prototype. Wait, of course, a game starts with an idea, but in this article, we already have something alike. So, yes, every game development process starts with a prototype. As the chosen mechanics isn’t very difficult, it can be made in two or three days and will cost you about $1,500 as it takes about 50 hours of development.
It’s important to mention that we consider a prototype as a piece of the game that already can implement some mechanics and actually is a game without beautiful graphics and other necessary stuff for a full-fledged product. And you can use this to get an idea of whether or not your game is going to be a hit (keep an eye on key metrics like CPI and retention here), so to keep those costs down.
It sucks killing a game, but if it means saving you thousands in the long run, then it can be worth it.
At this stage, you’ll have your shiny prototype, and done some testing. So you’ve probably spent from anywhere between $1,000 – $5,000 (heavily depending on your team size, resources, testing budget, etc – you might have done this a bit cheaper but cutting some corners, we’re just taking the industry average).
Sounds like a lot, right? Thankfully, you can definitely save a bit of your hard-earned cash on the visuals.
Hyper-casual games, notoriously, are not really known for their artwork. You can keep this fairly simple, but make sure to make them vibrant and eye-catching. You can probably get away with doing this in house, but keep in mind the other elements that need designing (menu appearance, achievements, bonus items, etc). This can cost you about $6,000 if you choose game art outsourcing.