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.
This is according to analyst Serkan Toto, who 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 anything else.
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. He also foresees development costs continuing to rise in the future.
On the lower end of the scale, Ateam CEO Takao Hayashi stated 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.
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.