How much does it cost to create an application or the whole truth about money

    Upon learning that I am developing mobile applications, my friends from time to time ask: “how much does it cost to develop an application?”. And I honestly answer: "from 200 dollars." The application will write on the HELLO WORLD screen, it will not be allowed into the store due to the “bad user experience”, but the application will work!

    The most amazing thing is that a huge number of developers really creates something for $ 3,000 and even puts it on the App Store.

    Some stories of Russian developers are strikingly reminiscent of a wandering fairy tale story "about a magical helper": in the spirit of a hunchbacked horse or a goldfish. Designers and composers come out of nowhere and do exciting things for free, and programmers with humility Cinderella at night scribble originally brilliant code ...

    One would like to look into their eyes and earnestly ask:

    - Guys, what kind of fairy tale are you from?

    And then in my harsh reality, the development of a high-quality, albeit not a large application for the Appstore is a long, difficult and expensive one.

    The main expense items when creating the project:

    App design$ 13,000
    Creating uniqueness$ 10,000
    Graphics Production$ 35,000
    Programming$ 45,000
    Text content$ 5,000
    Localization$ 3,000
    Music and sound$ 1,000
    Polishing$ 17,000
    Marketing$ 30,000
    Control$ 30,000
    Total:$ 189,000

    The whole layout will be done using our MyEmotions example . The application is free, all the functionality can be viewed.

    When designing the application, we set the task to create a “tool”, which, when used correctly, allows a person to consult with his subconscious mind and get an adequate and accurate answer from him.

    But back to our budgets.

    For all items of expenditure, “adequate” market prices are given. That is, those prices for which you can hire a competent specialist or outsourcing company. Obviously, you can find a person for pizza and beer, but this is not a professional approach. So you can make one application, but not build a studio.

    App Design - $ 13,000

    • Designer (for games - game designer) - $ 20 per hour
    • Art Director - $ 30 per hour
    • Project manager - $ 15 per hour (part-time)

    Before you begin work on a project, you need to come up with it. We need: the general concept of the project, art bible, which defines the style of the project, sketches, examples of content, layout of screens and a description of the main technologies. The more invented at the beginning, the faster and easier to do later.

    The saddest thing is an attempt to save money at this stage. We spent too little time on this work and then paid for too significant alterations.

    Screen layout My Emotions

    For ourselves, we have developed a principle - at the design stage we must make documents so that the project can be submitted to outsource and be sure that everything will be done as it should.

    5 weeks, 40 hours each, $ 65 per hour (cumulatively) and the first 13,000 dollars flowed from the project budget.

    Graphics Production - $ 35,000

    • 2D artist - $ 20 per hour
    • 3D modeler, animator - $ 25 per hour

    From the point of view of an ordinary person, artists work not just leisurely, they work delightfully slowly. Moreover, most of this work takes place either in their head or in small changes in color, shape and angle completely invisible to an unprepared person. This leads to the fact that a full-size, full-color drawing with a decent level of detail requires two full working days.

    Contemplation My Emotions

    No, a separate drawing can be done in a day. But if you need to make them 62 as in our project - then do not even hope. 2 days is a minimum. At the same time, part of the pictures will not work and they will have to be redone. Sad arithmetic - 20 hours per picture, $ 20 per hour, 62 pictures in the app - and, voilà, we just spent 25 thousand dollars.

    We didn’t have much 3D and animations - doors open, elevators ride, mirrors turn. Only 5 independent scenes. It took 210 hours to model, skin, and other 3D stuff.


    Another 250 hours of time was consumed by rendering all the application screens. If they ask me what they painted there for so long, I won’t be able to answer. But I know for sure - it couldn’t be much faster - no one freeloaded and everyone worked in full force.

    Programming - $ 45,000

    • Senior programmer - $ 35 per hour

    I noticed a strange pattern - if you ask the programmer how long it will take to create a product “visible” in terms of size, the answer is always the same - 2-3 months. It seems that the projects are different and the platforms and languages ​​- but still 2-3 months.

    Even stranger is the truth. In two months, you will have an almost working prototype of your application on hand. It will be impossible to use, but most of the functionality will be present.

    And time after time, in different projects, it turns out that adjusting the functionality to the mind requires 3-4 times more time than prototyping, which the programmer's ego cleverly gives out as a finished product.

    In our project, we had to throw out the prototype created on the Cocos2D engine, since the cheap pseudo-3D that we wanted to use looked wretched and writhed like a half-dead cockroach under the user's fingers, instead of flipping a butterfly and flowing in silk.

    In fact - programming until almost release took 8 months and cost $ 45,000

    Creating Uniqueness - $ 10,000

    The modern AppStore has more applications than residents in Irkutsk. And this means that just a regular application will not interest anyone - neither buyers, nor journalists, nor Apple itself. The application should have something that really sets it apart from the rest. It can be unusual physics, unique gameplay, special speech recognition technology or a psychedelic art style. But whatever it is, it will take time and mean money.

    In our application, scientific psychology has become such a uniqueness (as opposed to the popular one, which is in women's magazines). To obtain primary data, we conducted a large-scale study in which more than 500 people from several dozen countries took part. We had to pay for the creation of the methodology, and for attracting people to the study, for statistical processing and for scientific expertise from the faculty of psychology of St. Petersburg State University, for a review of the literature on the topic (yes, having scientific degrees in psychology, we still ordered literature reviews on a given topic to be completely self-confident) ...

    As a result, we got a projective technique that works on a mobile device and provides an accurate diagnosis of a person’s emotional state of more than 75%. Lusher with his test nervously smokes on the sidelines.

    The total budget for the development of "psychomechanics", as we called the scientific side of our application, amounted to $ 10,000.

    Creating text content - $ 5,000

    The application requires depth. Otherwise, the user will have “nothing” to use in it. In the navigator, these are maps, in angry birds, there are levels, in our application, there are 5 different use cases and 62 possible results. When multiplied, they give 310 different interpretations of the result. 310 moderately short, meaningful, informative, beautiful and literate texts.

    This is a hell of a lot - it's a whole novel, consisting only of short chapters. Our texts were written jointly by a team of psychologists and science fiction writer Svyatoslav Loginov.


    Localization - $ 3,000

    • 15-25 cents per word

    The Russian market is small. For a product with a price of several dollars, it’s very difficult to make money on the Russian market, for this you must first create something that everyone will like, but at the same time tailored specifically for Russians.

    RussianGoogle translatorLiterary translation
    This condition pushes to a deep and subtle perception, sharpening feelings and guarding against harsh actions and decisions.This state is pushing for deep and subtle perception, exacerbating feelings and protecting them from harsh actions and decisions.This state fosters a deep and acute perception, sharpening your senses and safeguarding against sudden actions and decisions.

    The global market is 50 times larger. But in order to do something for him, one must speak the language of the client. Each text must be translated by a professional translator and read by a native speaker, with the right education and experience. We localized our product (70,000 characters) into English and French. It ate a ton of time, nerves and $ 3,000 (and yes, it was very inexpensive).

    Sound and music - $ 1,000

    The entrance to the building in which our office is located is closed with a combination lock. This lock has a unique feature - when you press the buttons and open the door, no sound is made. And although the code works - in half the cases I have to meet guests who, having pressed the buttons, did not understand that the door is open.

    In the application, almost any user action should be voiced. 43 different actions - and for every sound. And there must be music. And it should reflect the atmosphere of the application, and in a good way should grow out of the pants of the MIDI files of the early 90s and sound with orchestral polyphony. Some time ago, I bought the Bastion game only because of the amazing music - especially since the game does not cost much more than the album.

    We were lucky - Alexander Dmitriev, who voiced projects for Rovio and Mountain Sheep, wrote music and sounds to us “in friendship”. In our humble app, 20 minutes of music written especially for us. For all we paid a scanty $ 1,000.

    The musical theme of anger

    Polishing - $ 17,000

    Polishing is such an ugly process when almost nothing changes in the application and at the same time everyone is busy. Move it there, fix it, reformat it a bit, the behavior is not obvious here, and here the application generally suddenly hangs.

    It took a month and a half to polish - the work of the artist, programmer and project manager. And even now, the project is full of roughnesses that catch the eye of professionals of all stripes. 6 weeks, $ 20 for an artist, $ 35 for a programmer, $ 15 for a manager (thank God, he’s not on one project) - and here we say goodbye to $ 17,000.

    Marketing - $ 30,000

    The previous two parts of the article were written about marketing:
    How to become a millionaire in the AppStore or some formulas about promotion and sales. Part 1
    How to become a millionaire in the AppStore or some formulas about promotion and sales. Part 2

    We spent about $ 10,000 on research and experimentation. They made a successful exit in the Russian AppStore, getting 3 place in the category and 40 in the overall rating. But they flew away so quickly that I had to study how the market works and what is wrong with us.

    We changed the name and icon. The number of downloads increased 10 times. In order to enter the United States and the world would need 50,000. But we will lay 30,000.

    Management - $ 30,000

    • Project Manager - $ 15 per hour

    Well and the last - it is necessary to manage all this process. Even a small project employs more than 10 people, their work must be coordinated, it is necessary to keep in one mind what is happening and what result we want to get as a result. It is necessary to look at the resulting and resolve the contradictions. In general, you have to spend money on a person who during the whole project does not create a single byte that got into the application. With a total development period of a year - simple arithmetic begins to resemble a horror movie series - $ 15, 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year - you can buy a decent new car for that kind of money ...

    The final

    Yes, it could have been cheaper.
    It could even be done much cheaper.
    It was possible to save on many things, part not to do at all.

    But was it worth it to start to make a tasteless craft? I don’t know any secret of success, but I know for sure that you need to do what you yourself will be proud of.

    Also popular now: