Back to top

Mobile Game Development Cost in 2024 | Examples and Estimates

Updated: April 22, 2024

If you’re looking for a specific mobile game development cost, you won’t find it in this article—or any article, for that matter. Every mobile game development process is unique and has various factors influencing cost, so there is no universal formula or algorithm you can use to get an accurate estimate.

However, the good news is that we can offer you a general mobile game development price range for projects of different scopes and list some things that impact the total sum. We suggest asking the developer/studio of your choice for an estimate for a more accurate total.

How Much Does It Cost to Develop a Mobile Game?

Test Prototype / Playable Demo

mobile game development cost $3 000+

Test prototypes and demos are usually used as stepping stones towards more significant projects or to prove a concept. As such, they do not require complex functionality or beautiful artwork. Such releases require minimal time and resources, making them the most affordable.

At Game-Ace, the demo creation process goes like this: at the beginning, a client approaches us with an idea for a game. Our game designer reviews the idea and its various implementation options and checks the market for similar or matching concepts and titles made by competitors. The findings are presented to the client for further review.

Once this is done, the FDP (First Day Prototype) phase begins. We determine the minimal time it will take to check the viability of the proposed mechanics and prepare 2D concept art to demonstrate a visual style. Once the concept and mechanics are approved, we move on to the TP (Test Prototype) phase.

The Test Prototype phase involves creating playable builds to be advertised on mobile marketplaces and/or several short video clips to gauge interest in the game. This is precisely what constitutes our demo.

Hyper-Casual Game

mobile game development cost $10 000 - $35 000

Hyper-casual games are often called the easiest. This is because most hyper-casual titles can be played simply by tapping the screen at the right time or making other effortless movements. Each round of gameplay is very quick, and it takes just a few seconds to start over.

Though these categories offer more content and variation to the player than MVP/Experimental, the mechanics are repetitive, so less content is needed, and the mobile game development cost is still relatively low.

Casual Game

mobile game development cost $20 000 - $150 000

Casual games are targeted at a particular type of player. This player does not play regularly or for very long periods—they may just need something to entertain themselves with on the way to work or to take their mind off tasks during a break. As a rule, casual games are very easy to play and do not require a significant investment of time. They have a few straightforward controls and appeal to adults and children alike.

Casual titles tend to take up more memory, have more content, and implement more advanced features than hyper-casual ones, so their costs also tend to be greater.

Midcore Game

mobile game development cost $150 000 - $500 000

In developers' eyes, mid-core is the first “serious” category of games. These titles are played by people who genuinely love gaming and are willing to dedicate time to this activity. It might not be hours, but it won’t be minute-long rounds like with hyper-casual titles.

Besides time, mid-core titles require a fair amount of thought and strategy. You can expect story arcs and advanced features like networking and hidden mysteries. These projects have substantial costs but are still accessible and appealing to small and mid-sized studios.

Hardcore Game

game development cost calculator $500 000 - $1 000 000

The hardcore category applies to titles that force users to devote significant time and effort to their playthroughs. In the process, they develop specific skills, apply strategic thinking, and make big choices that affect the narrative. These titles keep people playing for hours to complete a level and quest, and this achievement is one of many. It is not uncommon for multiplayer to be implemented, and additional play modes that add to the initial experience.

Due to the extensive and advanced features added to hardcore titles and the vast amount of content available, they are very expensive to make and usually require the backing of prominent investors and distributors.

AAA Game

game development cost calculator $1 000 000+

An AAA game is the gaming equivalent of a blockbuster film. With tremendous sums of money poured into AAA projects, they provide the whole shebang: the best graphics, days’ worth of unique content, a complex and well-planned storyline, character customization options, and different forms of online and multiplayer gameplay. Thus, this is not so much an indicator of the genre as one of budget. These releases correspond to the gaming world's biggest hits (and misses) in the past several decades.

AAA titles require a large and capable mobile game development studio. They tend to be accompanied by a costly marketing campaign and widespread distribution by one of the entertainment world's titans.

It’s also worth mentioning that most of these games can be made as NFT. Such a development doesn’t take much time but requires specific skills and knowledge, which raises the overall mobile game development price. Luckily, if you use the services of an NFT game development company, the development process can be agreed upon according to your optimal budget.

Where Does The Money Go?

The mobile game development cost can be distributed into several key categories:


Most of your spending will be paid to the specialists who make your game development happen. Most such projects involve a team of at least ten developers, project managers, QA engineers, DevOps engineers, designers, 2D/3D artists, and other experts. When you consider the hourly rates of these experts (which can exceed $100 for some professions), the total sum spent on salaries can reach a staggering amount. For example, a single experienced developer working on a project lasting one year can typically cost you over $100k in salary payment.


You might think a computer is the only hardware needed for mobile software development, but there is so much more. For example, artists often create art with the help of graphic tablets, while QA engineers and testers need various gadgets and mobile devices to check and determine how well the software works on them. Hosting servers and infrastructure are other hardware element that incurs significant expenditures. You will need storage space to store your project's data and access a server if your mobile application has any network/connectivity features.

In terms of software, a company applies various tools to develop and build assets for its project. In most cases, the software used throughout the mobile game development process is professional and requires purchasing a license. An entire team may use a dozen or more professional tools, adding up to several thousand dollars for a year’s subscriptions.


In a perfect world, the quality and uniqueness of a product's mobile game development would be enough to gain the recognition it deserves. However, this is different from how business works in our current age, and it is almost impossible for products to achieve popularity and prominence without promotion. Thus, you will probably need to engage in one or several marketing campaigns to help your app reach a wider audience and catch on.

Purchased assets

Although it is certainly possible to create all of the assets you need from scratch, it sometimes makes more sense just to purchase some ready-made ones. For example, making a game with speech or sound effects is more manageable, so you can purchase audio assets instead of figuring out how to make the proper sounds yourself. The same principle applies to stock images and 3D assets, saving you much mobile game development time.


We have listed some of the most significant mobile development costs involved in projects, yet there are still dozens of minor other costs. These expenditures might not be significant compared to the big ones, but if you add them up, they amount to a substantial total.

For example, you might need to spend extra translating and adapting your content to different regions, traveling to different places, filing copyright claims and legal paperwork, and performing accounting. In addition, you have the operating expenses of running a company, including rent, electricity, utilities, taxes, etc. Your mobile game development costs everything and should factor into price breakdown estimates.

Factors That Influence Cost

Every project has many moving parts, and the mobile game development circumstances can change drastically from one month to the next. To illustrate this, we have listed some factors that can throw a wrench into your plans or help you meet your budget, depending on the situation.

  • 2D/3D
  • Generally speaking, 2D assets and animation are faster and easier to make. Thus, more work will go into 3D releases, corresponding to more lavish spending.

  • Amount of content
  • If your game is set in one location that it never deviates from, you will probably not need to create too many models. On the other hand, if there is a storyline, different locations, levels, and characters, it will take more time and money.

  • Team size/skill
  • The more people you have on your team, the more money will go towards their salaries. On the other hand, a team that is too small will take longer to complete the stages of the project, so finding the right cost balance is essential. Additionally, more experienced specialists will be paid more than other team members.

  • Region
  • Payment rates for mobile developers and other specialists vary from country to country. Thus, if you find the standard rates in your country too expensive, you might consider outsourcing or outstaffing the project to a company in a more affordable region.

  • Project duration
  • While it is commendable when projects meet their projected deadlines, it is not unusual for there to be some delays. Ultimately, all the extra time that goes into your initiative will also correlate to expenditures.

  • Porting
  • After you build a complete game for one platform (e.g., Android/iOS), it will take longer to port it to others and ensure it works as expected.

  • Marketing strategy
  • You will determine how much you want to spend on mobile game development marketing. You may choose not to market your release or take every opportunity to promote it. In large-scale releases (AAA), marketing often accounts for a third or a fourth of the total spending.

How the Mobile Game Cost Estimation Works

If you're curious about the potential mobile game development cost, it's important to note that an accurate estimate requires a detailed game design document. This document outlines all aspects of the game, from mechanics to visuals, which helps determine the required specialists and tasks. At Game-Ace, we employ a discovery stage to provide precise cost estimates. During this phase, we conduct interviews, create comprehensive game design documents, establish timelines and milestones, and allocate teams and specialists with their respective rates.

Project cost estimation always demands a tailored strategy. It hinges on your current resources, desired outcomes, deadlines, and budget constraints. Below, we explore the top three models influencing mobile game development costs:

1. Fixed cost model

  • Offers a predetermined budget and controlled management.
  • It is ideal for clients with a fixed budget and stable project requirements.

2. Resource hiring team

  • Clients hire dedicated development experts on an hourly or monthly basis.
  • It provides flexibility to scale the team as needed and is suitable for long-term mobile development projects.

3. Material model and hourly time

  • Clients pay for hourly time and materials spent during mobile game development.
  • Offers flexibility, transparency, and minimum risk, suitable for evolving projects.

Choosing a suitable pricing model significantly impacts the overall cost of developing mobile game apps. To ensure top-tier quality while managing costs effectively, various strategic methods are employed in crafting outstanding games. The process starts by maximizing the capabilities of established game engines and tools like Unity or Unreal Engine. These platforms provide a robust foundation for mobile game development and furnish extensive resources and utilities, saving time and finances.

The next tactic involves judicious outsourcing of non-core tasks. Rather than diverting energy and resources into areas beyond expertise, collaboration with seasoned professionals capable of delivering exceptional work is prioritized. This approach streamlines mobile game development and spares the need to reinvent the wheel. A reliable network of partners, from sound designers to motion capture studios, is maintained within the company, ensuring every aspect of the game receives expert attention.

Adopting agile methodologies constitutes another cornerstone of the strategy. This fosters flexibility, promotes teamwork, and facilitates an ongoing feedback loop aligned with the vision. Mobile game development teams operate within tightly knit Scrum or Kanban setups, ensuring constant communication and seamless task management.

Additionally, the capabilities of cloud-based infrastructures such as Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure are leveraged. These services offer remarkable scalability and cost-effectiveness, enabling mobile game development, testing, and deployment without requiring a substantial initial investment in hardware. This drives down costs and accelerates the mobile game development process.

In summary, the strategic integration of these elements empowers the ability to navigate the dynamic landscape of mobile gaming with finesse. The priority is creating captivating gaming experiences that captivate audiences while maintaining a vigilant focus on budget management. The outcome? A polished game delivered punctually, within budget, and poised to exceed expectations.

Strategies for Cost-Effective Mobile Game Development

Especially when integrating third-party assets or copyrighted materials, it's crucial to remain vigilant about potential legal entanglements. Securing the necessary licenses for copyrighted content from well-established franchises or integrating recognizable elements demands a prudent budget allocation.

Overlooking legal obligations can lead to expensive lawsuits and potentially damage your reputation. Hence, ensuring compliance with intellectual property laws, privacy regulations, and terms of service agreements is paramount. These demands underscore the significance of setting aside a specific budget for legal considerations. As seasoned professionals, we fully grasp the necessity for vigilance in these realms and maintain a dedicated legal team to navigate these intricacies of the mobile game development process.

As evidenced, determining the budget for a mobile game hinges on numerous factors — a daunting task if approached solo. If contemplating outsourcing or collaborating with third-party vendors, vetting potential partners to ensure their genuine expertise is essential. Review their portfolio, engage with their creations, and seek feedback from their previous collaborators. Confirm their proficiency in developing games within your desired genre, niche, and platforms.

While the benefits of outsourcing listed above often outweigh potential risks, this holds only when selecting a reputable vendor. Freelance mobile game developers may also suffice, but exercising the same level of due diligence remains imperative.

Where Can You Get an Estimate?

game development cost calculator

You may find specific tools and mobile development cost calculators on the web claiming that they will calculate the cost of your project, but they could be more reliable choices. The smartest course of action is to provide a thorough analysis based on the project plans. You may entrust this task to an in-house team of business analysts, but it will be easier in most cases to ask a game studio to do it for you. As long as you are serious about possible cooperation with a mobile development partner, any interested studio will not hesitate to draw up some estimates for you.

Knight - Stack Jump

Game-Ace is one of the many studios that perform such appraisals, and we would be more than happy to take a look at your project. We offer decades of experience in mobile game development and design, which has allowed us to get a very good understanding of game costs and the finest mobile development practices that reduce costs while maintaining a high level of quality. It is a point of pride that we hold the largest team of Unity developers in Eastern Europe, and our experts have worked on projects of various scopes, from MVP to Hardcore. For example, our most recent release is an aforementioned hyper-casual title called Knight- Stack Jump, available for free on Android and iOS.

It all starts with a message. Contact us and we can start discussing how to deliver the project of your dreams.

Average rating 4.6 / 5. Votes: 64

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

Related posts
Related How to Make a Game Demo That Captivates Your Audience Related MMORPG Games and How to Develop Them Related Why Your Single Player Game Needs a Backend Related How to Make an RPG Game and Not Lose Everything Related The Best Ways to Use Procedural Generation in Games
Get in touch
By sending this form you agree to our Privacy Policy. The information you provide will be added to our CRM system for further communication.
Get in touch
Get in touch
Game-Ace logo loader