How much does it cost to make a video game?

How much does it cost to make a video game? Quick Jump / Table of Contents

  1. AAA and Big Name Studio Games

The most simple and basic answer is that making your own game can be 100% entirely free. This comment is of course, assuming that you are capable of providing the programming, art, music, business, and marketing required with watching your game project.

In many examples of Indie Games, a single developer, or a group of developers, working for very little to no money, will come together and produce a game. In some cases where a specific team member to perform a specific task, like creating art cannot be found, there are always many free assets available on the internet.

If you want to hire your contractors at an hourly rate, expect to pay anywhere between $10 and $30, depending on the role. Be sure to ask about potential collaborations, although, if an artist tells you they only do paid work, be wary of attempting to convince them to work for free for you.

Managing your own team in the payroll behind them can be quite cumbersome. In many cases it may be advantageous to hire or outsource a development team/development shop who can produce the assets required. This generally cost more money, however can take less time, and could produce assets of a much much higher quality.

Let's take a look into the costs by examining a few examples of popular games and their game development methodology.

AAA and Big Name Studio Games

Certainly there are many instances of games being made for much less than we're about to see, but we've chosen some well known examples for the sake of understanding the scope. On the lower end of the AAA industry, we can look at games like BioShock (2007) which was developed for €15,000,000, or the original Gears of War at $10,000,000.