According to Serkan Toto, lot of the cost blocks across the value chain in Japanese mobile gaming have been getting bigger over the last years. This is specially true with regards to mobile games development.
Mobile game development costs in Japan have risen as high as $9 million per game due to the increase in complexity and adoption of 3D graphics. The analyst has posted about development costs on his blog. He notes that these are just the cost of developing the game, and do not cover live ops, marketing, or other activities.
The highest development cost estimate came from GREE’s VP of Social Games Eiji Araki, who claimed games were costing between $4.5 million and $9 million to develop. He expects this cost to go even higher in the future, regardless of whether developers recycle content from previous games.
Meanwhile, DeNA CEO Isao Moriyasu claimed that development costs came in at around $4.5 million on average per game, during the earning results briefing for the company’s Q4 in May. He also foresees development costs continuing to rise in the future.
DeNA and GREE CEOs Have Claimed That Developing Costs Were Between $4.5 Million per Game, Up to $9 Million for GREE
On a less extreme extent, Ateam CEO Takao Hayashi stated during the company’s Q3 results briefing, that development costs for the studio’s games were an average of $3.5 million. That said, once overseas marketing and expansion costs were added, the total came to around $9 million.
The CEO added that these sums can actually be seen as a benefit for bigger studios like his, as they lift the barriers for market entry overall.
While development costs in Japan may be on the rise, it can be a highly lucrative market. For example, Pokemon GO players in Japan have spent an average of $26 each on IAPs since the game’s launch.
Serkan Toto Blog
Ric Cowley for PocketGamer.biz