Speaking at the GameHorizon conference, Geoff Iddison, CEO of Jagex, claimed that it only takes around £12,800 to develop a casual game.
“We launched FunOrb with a low budget, adding games every two weeks. The cost per game is less that $25,000. That’s bearing in mind that we’ve got [development] infrastructure already in place and that it depends on [whether it’s a] single or multiplayer game.”
Perfectly true, but as the commenters point out, they’re making flash games and the work is outsourced to China. Development costs in the UK would be significantly higher, and clearly there’s going to be a larger gamut of budgets running between that and more traditional game development.
What I find more interesting though is the undercurrent to the comments of “Those aren’t proper games!”. Plainly what was once regarded as “the games industry” is becoming the blockbuster part of it, with plenty of other businesses rushing into the lower budget spaces underneath.
Casual is certainly a viable proposition now. To illustrate, here are a few more stories just from the past few days on casualgaming.biz:
Portals will now get developers to sign exclusivity deals. MumboJumbo in particular are seeking to differentiate themselves from other casual game publishers/developers by positioning their games as “premium casual games”.
Majesco’s performance is getting better, and all on the back of non-hardcore game content seen as being aimed at more casual players.
Big media are continuing to rush towards game development with handfuls of cash. Nickleodeon in particular seem to be trying to cover the entire gamut of game development, with everything from two casual portals to console titles.
Pictured above is Peggle, the most perfect casual game yet. A lot of game designers have massive problems with the way it offers disproportionate rewards for what is largely a game of chance, but it sucks in hardcore gamers like nothing else, and with content that’s decidedly not aimed at them. Truly, finger ingested crack.