Pokemon Go is experiencing what every MMO does- and make no mistake. Pokemon Go is just an MMO, sure it’s an ARG that brings you out into the real world. But at its core, it is a massively multiplayer online game, a real-money store.
Investigating the “cost” of Pokémon Go’s development.
Have you been thinking to stop playing Pokemon Go and move on with your life? Well, these stats will maybe give you a reason to start working on your own project.
We decide to do this just for entertainment purposes. We should be accurate somewhere around from 70% to 100%, but however, it’s just for entertainment!
Since the game itself is out for some time now and the reach is massive with user numbers, more and more people are starting to consider developing their own game with similar functionality as Pokémon Go.
The combination of augmented reality and gamification has been a massive hit the world over, and are an interesting subject in itself. Today we will explore how much the app potentially cost to develop.
By now, it is safe to assume that multiple developers are programming similar games to Pokémon Go. The popularity and buzz around the game have gotten people otherwise not interested in games or apps to download and play with Pokémons, a remarkable feat.
If you or your company are planning to have their own Augmented Reality Game developed, consider reading this article to learn more about what aspects of the game cost a lot. Also, which aspects were relatively cheap to develop.
Keep in mind that there are no official data concerning this. Therefore I use my extensive app development experience to estimate individual parts of the game. After I combine it all for a total sum.
Pokédex, Backpack, Pokémons, PokéCoins etc.
In order for the Pokédex or Backpack to work properly when adding or removing items, coins or Pokémons, it is necessary to first build a database containing all relevant information. This database includes images, health, statistics and anything else relating to individual items or creatures.
While creating a database itself is not very expensive, integrating the data with various functions and manipulating that data based on different tables and variables. So the total cost can grow at an alarming rate.
If we assume that everything is already set in stone, meaning that we can’t change any databases, tables or data entries, creating ~150 different Pokémons, a similar amount of unique items, Pokécoins and all other database worthy entries, we can easily say that the amount of hours spent would be somewhere between 100 up to 150 hours.
This number includes the time spent on adding the data itself. If we are just creating an empty table ready for data inputs, this amount would probably be somewhere around 30 hours.
By using an estimated average hourly price for app development, we assume that the price of one hour amounts to $50 USD.
Distance, Placement, Maps etc.
It doesn’t take long for any skilled app developer to integrate GEO tracking into an app, but to couple, it with other functions can be time-consuming.
Pokémon Go has made extensive use of seamless integration with many modules, including distance calculation, spawning Pokémons based on your location, entering thousands of locations on the interactive map, all adding significant time spent on development.
The basic GEO location setup normally takes around 5-10 hours, but the added features that Niantic (developers of Pokémon Go,) probably results in something like 150 hours if not more.
Game related functions, integrations such as health, damage, fighting, lure modules, egg incubators etc.
The single largest wildcard in any game would have to be the game-specific code. This code is the one that makes the game unique. All we have are somewhat default functions such as GEO tracking and Databases.
Making these standard features play well with the custom code will take a certain amount of time. But developing the custom code itself is what really costs money. In the terms of Pokémon Go, developing Creatures with health, statistics, levels, and other important data, manipulating that data based on damages, attacks and user inputs take even more time, and integrating all the aspect into one final package takes even longer of course.
This is probably the most difficult section to put a price on. If we suspect that there was a 100% complete list of specifications, detailing exactly how everything should function, an app development agency would at least have to spend 1000 hours on this part.
The world itself is built up by a combination of a generic world map. The user input where people from all over can add new locations and areas. So while the map itself is static, the locations on it are dynamic and require custom coding to be implemented with standardized features and modules.
Not only that but some of the development in this section was already done. Since Niantic had used similar features in their other app, called Ingress.
Of course, we don’t have access to precise details. But assuming once again that everything is already figured out to the minute specifics, and all is left to code. A conservative estimate on the world building section amounts to 200 hours.
There’s a huge scene evolving here at the moment. But when Niantic started to develop Ingress, the precursor to Pokémon Go, they had to build all the Augmented Reality from scratch. Meaning a lot of time spent on research and experimenting.
Still, there’s quite a bit of work involved in connecting the many different mobile phone cameras for all different devices and operating systems to the game itself. There’s also the added prospect of integrating the AR with the rest of the game. Which results in at least 150 hours of development.
Adding all these estimations together, we end up at roughly $80,000 USD. While this could easily cost $200,000 USD, if not even more, and might even go as low as $40,000 USD. I feel that the first amount is somewhat fitting. But it does not take into account time spent on developing the specifications and rules of the game itself.
Nor does it take into account time spent on designing the game graphics, optimization, and quality assurance. Please note, that I, Dexter, take 0 responsibility for using any figures for your own budget estimations. Highly discourage referencing this article in any other aspect than for enjoyment purposes.
Maybe this stats will definitely change your mind and make you stop Playing Pokemon GO? Tell us about that in the comment section down below.
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