Just a few thousand dollars short of its $250,000 funding goal and with its Indiegogo campaign expiring in less than 24 hours, it seems like “Smosh Food Battle: The Game” will be a massive success for Smosh and crowdsourced fundraising as a whole.
But across YouTube, forums and the Indiegogo campaign page itself, several fans and non-fans of Smosh have come to an agreement on something: $250,000 seems excessive for a mobile video game.
“I know app development is expensive. But it’s not a quarter of a million expensive,” writes a forum user in a thread titled “Smosh Deleting Comments?” The thread was started after the original poster claimed that comments disparaging the campaign’s costs were being deleted on YouTube. And while deleting comments like “You’re e-Begging money whores” can be understood, the action still does little to answer those with questions about the game’s asking price.
So how much does it cost to develop a 3D single-player adventure game for iOS, PC and Android?
Scaling in a slightly different direction, according to the developer of smash hit Xbox Live Arcade game “Braid,” financing the game cost $200,000 of his own money. The developer, Jonathan Blow, told Eurogamer back in 2009 that, “a lot of that 200k was spent because I didn’t want to live in a shack somewhere… It doesn’t require USD 200,000 to make a game. It requires a PC, a dev kit and enough money to live on for the time it takes to develop, plus extra time because it will always slip. If you can live for three years at your Mom’s house, you can make a game for free.”
While “Braid” was a hand-drawn, 2D puzzle platformer (3D titles often cost more to develop), it was still critically praised for its emotion-tinged story and innovative gameplay. “Braid” however, was released in 2008 and only for XBLA. “Food Battle,” on the other hand, is being developed for iOS, Android and PC; perhaps modern development costs are the reason for the quarter million dollar price tag?
“I’m skeptical,” said Jon Rockmore, a mobile consultant who has worked on mobile titles like “Boxhead – The Zombie Wars” when asked whether or not $250,000 seemed excessive. Rockmore explained that $250,000 is a high asking price, but he has quoted projects around that price. “But they were major,” said Rockmore.
That “major” qualifier is an important distinction to make. Like Blow’s 2008 title “Braid,” an indie game will often cost much less than massive titles. Most “Triple A” game titles like “Call of Duty” are estimated to cost developers anywhere between $20 million to $100 million in production costs. For mobile applications, however, the costs are significantly less.
Looking at mobile titles on Kickstarter and Indiegogo, games like the successfully funded “Monochroma” are asking for far less than $250,000. “Monochroma” specifically is being developed by Nowhere Studios, who asked for $80,000 to fund the game which promises around 360 minutes of gameplay.
Other crowdsourced titles like the simplistic “Stronghold 2D,” which is being developed for iOS, PC, Mac and Linux, is seeking just $7,000 in funding. On the more detailed end of crowdfunded games, upcoming PC, Mac and Linux title “Torment: Tides of Numenera” far exceeded its $900,000 goal, receiving over $4 million in funding back in April.
“Smosh Food Battle: The Game,” is being developed in part by Liquid Development who have been posting detailed entries at the official Indiegogo campaign page. Liquid Development is a massively successful developer with credits on projects like “Halo 4” and “Fable 2.”
In addition, Smosh is donating 10 percent of the total proceed to charities Child’s Play and FEED USA. The entirety of “Smosh Food Battle: The Game’s” donation perks also would chip into the overall cost of the campaign especially as Smosh is kicking off the entire project by hosting a “donut party” in the city that contributes the most funding.
As I finish this, “Smosh Food Battle: The Game” just reached its $250,000 goal with 10 hours to go. It may seem like too much to some, but for the 3,806 and raising official funders, it didn’t seem to matter at all.
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