How much does a branded mobile game cost?

How much does a branded mobile game cost?

It is about time we take you through the ins and outs of the casual mobile game pricing. You can surely get a mobile game for a few grants, but to be honest, the answer to the question is: it depends on what you want to achieve and the kind of marketing challenge you want to solve by using a branded mobile game as part of your marketing strategy.

Before we go into pricing structures let’s firstly take a look at what a casual game can do:

– Give huge brand engagement — we talk hours;

– Create sales leads — huge conversion rates;

– Gather data — get better data by trading with points;

Drive traffic to store and increase revenue — if you integrate a voucher solution;

– Self-funded app maintenance and updates — if you have in-app purchases;

– Create an additional channel for ad distribution.


The usual solution for a brand, that wants to build a digital product, is to call an agency, get a quote, get going and pay for updates down the road. So if you want something that scores high on the advantages listed above – look at $0.5 — $1 million in a production budget. Indeed, that frightens most brands from jumping and experimenting in this much promising space. Luckily, there are alternatives to this pricing structure that can get you going much cheaper if you can offer something in return.

Pointvoucher has developed a flexible pricing structure that can remove the entry barrier and make it much easier for brands who want to experiment but don’t have a million bucks.

With this structure we combine other objectives of great value to lower the initial production cost. Here are the related factors:

– Potential reach — how many users / downloads can we get for the lowest cost?

– Permission and data costs — what do you pay for new leads today?

– In-game ad distribution — how can you move money from your media budget?

– Brand engagement — how important is this to your brand?

– Customer acquisition cost — what do you pay to get a customer into your store?

By looking at the overall picture and defining a business case together we can customize this towards the things that matter most for your business.

Potential reach of users

Do you have a high reach through owned, earned and paid media? Reach is super important to scale the number of downloads in a cost efficient way. Lots of downloads means lots of users that can be converted into permissions, increase the game revenue from in-app purchases and help drive more people to your store. If you don’t have the channels, you can choose to buy the downloads through paid media, but it’s expensive and not the best way to go. In that case, we suggest finding a partner or an ambassador that will help you get the reach through its owned channels. All in all, a business case with a huge potential scale helps bringing down the initial cost of the project.

Email permissions through mobile gaming

Permission and data costs

For brands that rely their sales process on email marketing, new permissions are critical for lead generation. Information has a huge value today and some brands spend huge amounts to buy leads from various sources. So paying per new lead generated by the game could be another way to fund the project. By the way, it has extremely good conversion rates ranging between 75 to 90%. Another important thing is that mobile games are great at gathering more information than usual, since there is a possibility to trade it with in-game points. Hence, even though you might have the permission, you can get more knowledge about customers through gaming. All in all, if data and permissions are valuable to you, which are for most companies, a performance based model might be the way to go to minimize the initial production cost.

In-game ad distribution

Despite from being entertaining, games can also work as a reward based on ad distribution channels. When users are playing a level for a while, there will be a moment where they can double their points in return for watching an ad. You can also show your logo or other great offers on, for example loading screens. This way the funding for the project can be taken from other distribution channels. Besides, ad distribution can also be sponsored by your B2B partners or even deliver a revenue stream if a third party advertising is added into the mix. Hence, if this option is chosen, it will reduce the initial cost.

Brand engagement

Brand engagement is always important and games are capable of immersing customers extremely well. You’ll easily witness engagement rates above 4 hours on average, if you offer a great game. Then, if the goal is to create an incentive to entertain people for longer hours and make them talk about the game you should go for a solution that will last longer. Brand engagement requires a higher initial investment, because the gameplay needs to contain progression to keep the user engaged. In other words, the player’s interest has to be maintained by diverse and interesting content, which spreads over multiple levels and evolves over time. On the other hand, this approach also brings up the option to add in-app purchases that foster funding for future updates and maintenance of the game.

If a high brand engagement for some reason is not your main priority, or you are simply on the hunt for new permissions, then you should go for more basic game mechanics that is much cheaper to produce. Then, a session-based game, that can be played over and over again, can be created. With this approach you’ll not get the advantage of free game maintenance and updates, but you will save on the initial costs. And hey! — you can still reach pretty good engagement rates. Especially, if players are offered to win something in a game.

Customer acquisition cost

Even though mobile games are about entertainment, they are actually pretty good at driving traffic towards stores and triggering special offers when people are at a specific location.

Branded Mobile games drive customers to stores

Thus, if you have something to reward your players with in return for the time they spend having fun with your branded game, they will not only be more likely to play the game. They will also show up at your store to redeem the offer and add more of your products to the basket before the checkout.

Case studies have shown that even rewards of very little value can bring a decent basket at the checkout. A product and voucher mechanism will of course require extra development and increase the initial cost higher, unless you choose a plug ’n’ play platform solution like the one Pointvoucher provides. In this case, the game could be partially funded by kickback on voucher redemption. The same way as with data and permissions.


So what is the price of a branded game? Once again — it all depends on what is crucial for your brand. Ultimately, as we have discussed there are other ways to fund a normally quite expensive game production. Of course, only if you’re willing to look at alternatives to the old fashioned ‘work for hire’ model. Then, you can start experimenting in this space of casual mobile games with Pointvoucher.

In Pointvoucher’s Let’s play blog, we’ve dedicated our time and space to give our readers in-depth articles on using gamification as part of marketing strategy. On top of that, we’ll bring you insights on what is happening in casual gaming, the basics of building a brand universe in games, the psychology behind gaming in marketing, case stories on branded entertainment and much more.

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