Game Development Costs: Tips and Tricks for Budgeting Your Next Project


Creating a video game can be a pretty expensive endeavor, with costs all over the place depending on what kind of game you want to make and how intricate it is. This guide is here to walk you through all those expenses—from the initial planning stages right through to finishing touches—so you can budget wisely and set yourself up for a successful game development project.

Setting the Stage: Initial Expenses

Before you get into the nitty-gritty of making a game, it’s super important to focus on the pre-production phase. This part is all about laying down the groundwork, like coming up with the concept, planning the story and characters, and getting the initial art and sounds sorted out. Knowing the costs ahead of time can really make a difference in how smoothly your project goes. On average, coming up with a game concept can set you back anywhere from £5,000 to £20,000, depending on how complex the game is and how experienced your team is. This includes creating the main idea, writing a game design document, and developing a pitch to attract potential backers. Moving on to the story and character creation phase, you might spend between £10,000 and £50,000. This budget covers crafting an engaging storyline and developing characters that players will love. The art and animation phase is another big one, typically costing between £20,000 and £100,000. This involves nailing down the game’s art style, designing characters, and animating them so they look and feel alive. Finally, don’t forget about sound design and music, which are key for making the game immersive. These can cost between £5,000 and £20,000 and include creating sound effects, background music, and ambient noises that pull players into the game world. By carefully planning and budgeting for these initial steps, you’re setting your game up for a smoother development process and reducing the chance of unexpected costs popping up later.

The Price Tag of Making a Video Game

Game development really comes to life during the production phase, which is where most of the budget gets spent. It’s at this point that the game’s design and mechanics are transformed into a playable reality through coding, art and animation creation, sound design, and plenty of testing.

Coding is absolutely essential here; it’s where the foundation is built, including the game engine, physics, AI, and other key systems. Depending on how complex the game is and the skills of the team, programming costs can range from £50,000 to £200,000. Top-notch coding is crucial to make sure the game works perfectly and lives up to players’ expectations.

Art and animation are just as important, with similar costs ranging from £50,000 to £200,000. This phase covers everything from crafting detailed character models to designing immersive environments and exciting effects that make the game visually stunning.

Sound design and music production also play a critical role, costing between £10,000 and £50,000. Good sound effects and engaging music can really bring your game to life and enhance the overall experience.

Finally, testing and quality assurance are vital to ensuring your game is top-notch and bug-free before it hits the market. This part of the process, which can cost anywhere from £10,000 to £50,000, involves bug fixing, performance optimization, and meeting quality standards. Thorough testing helps prevent expensive post-launch issues and ensures players have a smooth experience.

Post-Production Costs: Getting It Ready for Launch

Post-production is the crucial final step before you release your game to the world. This phase includes several key activities that can make or break your launch, such as localization, marketing and advertising, and distribution and publishing. Let’s break these down a bit further.

First, there’s localization. This is all about making sure players from different countries can enjoy your game. Translating into multiple languages and tweaking regional details isn’t cheap; you might spend anywhere from £5,000 to £20,000. But this effort pays off by opening up your game to a global audience, making it more accessible and widely appealing.

Next up is marketing and advertising. To get players excited about your game, you need to spread the word effectively. This could set you back between £10,000 and £50,000, depending on how big your campaign is. Whether you’re leveraging social media, teaming up with influencers, or paying for ads, a strong promotional strategy can really boost your game’s visibility and attract more players.

Finally, there’s distribution and publishing. Getting your game onto various platforms and possibly hiring a publisher to help you out can cost around £5,000 to £20,000. This step is vital to ensure your game is available and easily accessible to your target audience across multiple platforms.

Managing these costs carefully is key to a successful launch. By investing in thorough localization, smart marketing, and smooth distribution, you can maximize your game’s potential and set it up for commercial success.

Figuring Out the Overall Costs of Making a Game

Figuring out the full cost of developing a game is super important for budgeting and planning properly. The expenses can vary a lot depending on the game’s type, how complex it is, and the size of the team working on it. Here’s a general idea of what you might expect to spend on different types of games:

  • 2D Mobile Game: £15,000 to £100,000
  • 3D Mobile Game: £50,000 to £1,000,000
  • PC Game: £100,000 to £1,000,000
  • Console Game: £200,000 to £2,000,000
  • AAA Game: £1,000,000 to £15,000,000

These estimates give you a ballpark figure of the financial commitment you’re looking at. In the early stages, pre-production generally takes up a smaller slice of the budget, but the big spending happens during the production phase. Particularly, AAA games—with their stunning graphics, intricate stories, and immersive gameplay—require a lot more resources, hence the higher costs.

Remember, unexpected expenses can crop up during development. Setting aside a contingency fund, around 10-15% of your total budget, can cover these surprise costs. The key to managing development expenses effectively is to estimate accurately and plan your finances flexibly. By getting a good grasp of these cost predictions and preparing for them, you’ll be better equipped to handle the ups and downs of game development.

Tips for Managing Your Budget When Developing a Video Game

Managing your budget well is crucial for the success of any game development project. Here are some tips to help keep your project on budget and on track:

  1. Detailed Planning: Kick things off with a thorough game design document. This should cover everything about your game, from the concept stage to release and beyond. Make sure to include a detailed budget, taking into account all anticipated expenses and a little extra for unexpected costs.
  2. Prioritize Features: Identify which features are must-haves and which ones can wait or be added later. Focus on the core features first so you have a playable game even if the budget gets tight.
  3. Iterative Development: Follow an agile development approach that allows for constant iteration and improvement. This helps to catch and fix issues early, saving you from costly fixes down the line.
  4. Outsource Wisely: Think about outsourcing tasks that can be done faster or cheaper by outside teams. Just make sure they meet your quality standards and maintain good communication.
  5. Regular Monitoring: Keep a close eye on your spending. Use project management tools to track your budget and progress. This will help you make informed decisions and adjustments along the way.
  6. Leverage Funding and Grants: Look into different funding options like grants, investments from publishers, or even crowdfunding. These can give you extra financial breathing room, easing the pressure on your initial budget.

By using these strategies, you can keep a firm handle on your budget throughout development, ensuring your game gets made without financial hassles and hits the market successfully.


Getting a handle on game development costs means knowing each step inside and out and planning for them. Think about what you’ll need to budget for during pre-production, production, and post-production. This way, you can keep your project on track and within budget.

At Fan Studio, we understand the complexities of game development and offer comprehensive services to help you navigate through each stage effectively. With our bespoke solutions tailored to your unique needs, whether you’re a startup or an established enterprise, we ensure your game stands out in a highly competitive market. Our expertise in market research, game mechanics, and project launch will guide you through the process, offering invaluable insights at each stage.

Ready to kick off your budgeting process for your new game? Reach out to us at Fan Studio for more details or to get started on turning your gaming vision into reality! Let’s collaborate to create engaging mobile games that captivate audiences and deliver exceptional results.

Comments are closed.

Fan Studio Team

Craft Captivating Game Apps:

Bespoke Game Development Studio

Elevate your digital experience with our bespoke game app development services. Our 👑 UK-based studio has a rich history of delivering innovative, top-tier mobile games and apps to a global clientele. Specializing in diverse industries, from education to entertainment, we provide tailored solutions that resonate worldwide, including in the UK, UAE, Saudi Arabia, China, Japan, Canada, and the USA.

Experience the cutting-edge of game app creation with our passionate team of game developers and designers. Our agile, user-centric approach crafts unique, standout games that capture hearts and minds. With analytics-driven insights and strategic gamification, we ensure fresh, impactful design decisions that make your project a success.

Join forces with Fan Studio, a proud member of UKIE and TIGA, and let’s shape the future of gaming together. Choose innovation, choose excellence, choose Fan Studio for your game app development needs.

UKIE logo
TIGA logo

Sales & Marketing Office

London, UK

Gamification Services

Los Angeles, USA

Game Development HQ

Iasi, RO

Fan Studio's HQ

All rights reserved.

Registered in England, Wales No: 11233441 and Romania VAT No: RO34004562.

Privacy Policy   Terms & Conditions   Jobs   Join our Discord

Gaming Companies London   Mobile Game Development Company   Trade Show Games   Trade Show Booth Games   Branded Games Marketing   London Game Studios   Game App Development Company   Games Marketing Events   ✈️Casino Crash Game Development