The video game development industry has grown almost nonstop over the years. The easy access to countless games makes the selection of players increasingly demanding and detailed.
Meanwhile, despite the tremendous development of technology, game development has never been an easy task and requires many complex processes. It has thus become common for game companies to use outsourcing game development services to provide additional expertise and resource support to their in-house shortfalls. Otherwise, they will have to accept the risk of falling behind the ever-evolving market.
The following article will show the benefits of collaborating with outsourcers, their costs, and suggestions for optimizing outsourced costs in game development.
What is outsourcing game development?
Outsourcing is a business practice in which a business hires a third party, possibly a service agent or independent contractor, to handle the company's production processes or services.
Outsourcing applications in information technology in general allows businesses to access highly skilled and experienced human resources in the field of operations than internal resources. This allows them to speed up time to market, reducing the cost and burden of setting up their own development team.
In the field of game development, third parties use technology resources and specialized human resources to implement the required game development steps. Outsourcing services are quite flexible and diverse and well address the need for cost-cutting for businesses.
Let’s take a little analysis of game development costs below.
How much does it cost to develop a game?
For each game development company, costs are carefully calculated based on many factors. Typically, development costs vary greatly depending on the game's features, size, and complexity, which can be specified as follows:
Each game is designed to be compatible with different technical platforms or cross-platform. In the mobile game segment, the cost of developing games for Android is 10-20% lower than for iOS. On the other hand, cross-platform games designed on a single codebase make implementation and deployment easier, while game products can run on multiple platforms at the same time, increasing coverage.
Cost for the game genre and functions
Games of varying complexity cause their costs to vary widely. According to a study on technology costs of developing games in the UK and US markets, the estimated numbers are as follows:
Mini-games: The usual simple games like Flappy Bird, and Sudoku…have a price ranging from $5 – $10k but many advanced features can make their price up to $20k.
2D games: Legendary Gold Miner has a development price from $15k-$25k but multi-platform 2D games developed with Unity such as Ori and the Blind Forest or Ruby's Adventure can go up to $50k.
3D Games: Prices for 3D games like Pure Sniper can fall in the range of $30k-$60k but Asphalt 9: Legends or Black Desert Mobile with excellent graphics and autoplay for up to $80k.
Some premium games like PUBG, and Clash of Clans are priced from $150k -$400k.
AAA games have sky-high prices with prices starting at $300k and going all the way up to $1 million for advanced features and stories, such as FIFA 2023, GTA…
Games with virtual or augmented reality technology start at $500k. For example, Pokemon Go with map service and geolocation tool costs $600k.
There are many game development engines available in the market and their cost varies according to the built-in tools provided as well as the integrated support tools. Unity's game engine is loved by all major developers because of the great success of the games created using it as well as an ecosystem of applications, innovative technologies and the integration to the .NET world. That means the cost of developing games with this tool is said to far exceed other tools like Unreal, Godot.
Testing, maintaining and updating the game
No game is released without testing. At the same time, the life cycle of every game product needs to be maintained for stable operation. And at a certain stage, it needs to be upgraded to suit the tastes and keep their appeal to users. Of course, you need to pay for these processes if you don't want to waste thousands of dollars creating a game that no one wants to use or will soon disappear.
In addition, some other costs are difficult to estimate clearly, but depend heavily on the custom needs of each customer such as the complexity of the game, project implementation time and publication costs.
Cost-benefits of outsourcing game development
The reality shows that the strategy of outsourcing games brings creators many tangible benefits.
Minimize input costs: The costs related to recruitment, salary, benefits for setting up your own development team are very significant, while outsourcing can help you completely remove the burden of these liabilities.
Reduce resource costs: You pay for services that an outsourced developer provides without having to purchase technology assets or infrastructure for development. At the same time, outsourcing units are your way to access the most advanced or the latest technology stacks without worrying about finding, connecting or buying them and paying training costs to use them.
Save time: While you are struggling with whether your personal or internal expertise can meet the requirements of the game project you want to develop, outsourcing ensures you the right product you ordered to be processed within the timeframe you requested. A professional developer can certainly help you get the game into the hands of users faster. Time is always money and keeping up with the trend is one of the profit-wise plans.
How to optimize cost for outsourcing game development
From the analysis above, you can see that a smart and cost-effective strategy for outsourcing game development depends on understanding the service pricing framework, planning your budget and choose a developer at a reasonable price.
Don’t forget that testing the contractor's capabilities through past customer sources, their portfolios, non-disclosure agreements, and maintaining mutual communication will help you ensure to achieve the project as expected within the allowable budget.