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Boost your game’s ROI by avoiding hidden costs

February 11, 2021 in Games | 4 min. read
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This new, free e-book points to the hidden pitfalls of games’ development, launch, and operation – and shows you how to avoid them.

Hidden costs can derail your game’s development. From concept to release,  decisions made during the development process can cascade back on one another in ways that amplify their negative effects. And even if these costs don’t ravage your game’s bottom line, they still have a real price in terms of wasted time, damaged reputations, and the loss of other fulfilling or profitable work.


But these stumbling blocks don’t have to stay unseen – if you ask the right questions. Our latest e-book, The True Costs of Creating, Launching and Operating a Game, gathers the lessons we’ve learned from helping thousands of creators take their games from concept to commercialization. We considered every phase of the development cycle and talked to the creators of some of your favorite games to unearth some of the hidden costs you might encounter – and, more importantly, how to avoid them.


Inspiration can arrive at any time. But without knowing the best way to transform this into a reality, it can fizzle out just as fast – and everyone from first-time game designers to industry veterans can run into problems right out of the gate. Choosing tools that allow you to prototype rapidly, iterate quickly, and work efficiently is critical. 


EpicHouse Games cofounders Tim van het Kaar and Joshua Boren are a perfect example of how a team can collaborate remotely, having met through a web forum. They knew it would be fun to work together and had a solid vision for their “world-shifting” 2D platformer, Phased, but they lived half a world apart: one in the U.S., the other in the Netherlands. And with one of them in school and the other working a full-time job, time was a precious commodity.


They needed tools that allowed them to determine very quickly whether their ideas were viable. By choosing software that helped them to ideate and iterate quickly, EpicHouse estimates they saved 10–20 hours a week.


Preproduction is where the rubber meets the road. You’ve got the green light, but the decisions you make before the real work of production begins are the foundations of a successful development process. This is because changing directions when your game is already underway risks wiping out the work your team has already done, and the time spent recovering can lead to dreaded launch delays.


As part of its standard preproduction procedures, the team at Gameloft puts together a working version of a game’s core concepts as quickly as possible, decides whether or not it’s viable, and then moves on to something else if it isn’t. In just one year, their team completed over 30 projects and saw 12 games greenlit for production.


Once production is underway, there are still questions around how best to allocate resources that can lead to expenditures of time and money you may not have planned for beforehand.


To avoid these, successful developers take calculated risks while capitalizing on their strengths and iterating off of proven IP. When Flyclops was considering a follow-up to Dominos!, it didn’t want to stray too far from what made it the #1 dominoes game in the App Store. With a proven revenue stream in hand, the question became how to bring in more money and heighten retention without jeopardizing it.


Flyclops leaned into what it knew for Dominoes Gold, but with an e-sports twist and a partnership with Skillz. In just one week, a single developer integrated an SDK into the game that added new features like prizes, large-scale tournaments, and leagues, while maintaining the core gameplay that made the original game a hit.

Dive deeper into the hidden costs of game development

Game development is a marathon, not a sprint. We’ve covered a few of the main stages of game development in this short article, but the full e-book includes detailed analyses of every stage of development.


To learn more, download your free copy of The True Costs of Creating, Launching and Operating a Game. Unity is here to help you with tools and services to make sure you are supported throughout your game development journey, from concept to commercialization. If you’re ready to dive in, you can get started with Unity Pro today or talk to one of our experts to learn all the ways we can assist you.



February 11, 2021 in Games | 4 min. read

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Topics covered