The realm of game development is a vibrant tapestry of creativity and technical prowess, with porting being a crucial thread in this fabric. In this article, we'll delve into the nuances of game porting costs, offering insights that reflect our experience, expertise, and the trust we've built in the industry.

Understanding Game Porting: A Brief Overview

Before we dissect the cost elements, it's important to understand what game porting entails. Game porting is the process of adapting a game to run on platforms other than the one for which it was originally developed. It's a meticulous process that requires technical skill and a deep understanding of different gaming platforms.

The Growing Importance of Game Porting

In 2022, the global mobile gaming market was valued at a staggering USD 184.4 billion. The market is projected to surge to around USD 775.69 billion by 2032, with an anticipated compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.5% from 2023 to 2032

global mobile gaming market

This remarkable growth trajectory is a testament to the mobile gaming sector's increasing popularity and its substantial revenue potential, which continues to drive the trend of porting PC games to mobile platforms  

Key Factors Influencing Game Porting Costs

Key Factors Influencing Game Porting Costs

Scale and Complexity of the Game

  • Game Size and Content: The more content a game has, the more resources it will require to port.
  • Game Complexity: Advanced mechanics or graphics can significantly raise porting costs.

Target Platform Specifications

  • Hardware Limitations: Different platforms have unique hardware capabilities, impacting porting strategies and costs.
  • Platform-Specific Features: Integrating unique features of the target platform can affect the cost.

Development Team Expertise

  • Experience and Skills: A seasoned team may command higher rates but can provide efficiency and quality.
  • Location: Geographic location can influence the cost due to varying living costs and market rates.

Licensing Fees in Game Porting

  • Engine Licensing Fees: Using a licensed game engine like Unreal Engine may require additional fees for deployment on new platforms. For instance, Unreal Engine charges a 5% royalty on gross revenue after the first $1 million per game​​.
  • Platform-Specific Licensing: Different gaming platforms have their own licensing fees. For example, publishing a game on Xbox can involve a cost that supports their ecosystem. The Xbox Developer Program, for instance, may include fees for development kits, which can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars​​.
  • Third-Party Libraries and Tools: If your porting process uses third-party tools like Havok Physics, licensing fees can apply. These fees can vary widely; for example, a Havok license might cost around $25,000 per title​​.
  • IP Licensing: Licensing an existing IP for a new platform may require renegotiating fees. For instance, porting a game based on a popular movie franchise could involve a licensing fee in the range of 10-15% of the game's retail price​​.
  • Compliance Costs: Meeting specific platform compliance standards can also involve costs. For example, if a game is being ported to a Nintendo platform, compliance with their standards might incur costs related to adjustments in the game design, which could add several thousand dollars to the budget

How to Calculate Game Porting Costs

Calculate Game Porting Costs

Estimating the cost of game porting is a critical step in the development process. This involves a detailed analysis of several key components:

Core Components of Game Porting

  • Adapting the Source Code: This is the technical backbone of porting, involving the modification of the game's original code to function seamlessly on a new platform.
  • Revamping Visuals and Artwork: Adjusting the game's graphics – be it 3D or 2D – to align with the capabilities and standards of the target platform.
  • Refining Gameplay and Controls: Tweaking the game mechanics and control schemes to ensure an intuitive and enjoyable user experience on the new platform.
  • Quality Assurance and Release: Rigorous testing to iron out any bugs and ensure the ported game meets quality standards, followed by its final release.

Assembling the Porting Team

The composition of your porting team is vital and will vary based on the project's complexity:

  • Producer: Oversees the process, ensuring smooth workflow and timely completion.
  • Developer: Handles the technical aspects of adapting the game to a new platform.
  • Artist: Responsible for modifying and creating game assets, tailored to the project's needs (either 3D or 2D).
  • QA Specialist: Conducts thorough testing to guarantee the game's functionality and quality on the new platform.

Determining the Scope and Team Size

The number of professionals required in each role is contingent upon the project's intricacy and volume of work. A larger, more complex game might demand a bigger team, while a simpler port could be managed with fewer specialists.

Budget Considerations

Considering the above factors, the budget for porting a game can vary widely. For smaller projects, the costs might be $10,000 - $50,000, while large-scale endeavors, especially those involving significant adaptation or high-end games, could run into $1,000,000+. The final budget will depend on the game's size, complexity, the target platform's specifications, and the expertise of the team involved.

A Realistic Cost Estimation Porting a Game 

Given the variables, pinning down an exact cost can be challenging. However, based on industry standards and our experience, here's a general overview:

  • Small-scale projects: For simpler games, costs can range from $5,000 to $20,000.
  • Medium-scale projects: More complex games might require a budget between $20,000 and $100,000.
  • Large-scale projects: High-end games with extensive content and complex mechanics can exceed $100,000+.

Who Benefits from Game Porting and the Expected Results

Game porting is not just a technical task; it's a strategic decision that can benefit various players in the industry:

  • Independent Developers and Small Studios: By porting their games, these groups can significantly broaden their audience base, increasing market reach and potentially boosting sales.
  • Medium to Large Game Studios: Porting allows these studios to maximize their game's lifecycle, bringing established titles to new platforms and audiences.
  • Non-Gaming Companies and Educational Institutions: These entities can leverage game porting to repurpose educational or promotional content across multiple platforms, enhancing engagement and reach.
  • Startups, Marketing, and Entertainment Firms: Porting enables these companies to diversify their product offerings, create interactive marketing campaigns, and extend the life of their content in the entertainment sector.

The Results of Game Porting

  • Expanded Market Reach: Access to new platforms means tapping into a larger pool of potential players.
  • Increased Revenue Streams: Porting a game can open up additional revenue channels, including new sales and in-app purchases.
  • Enhanced Brand Visibility: Being present on multiple platforms increases brand awareness and reinforces market presence.
  • Longevity of Game Life: Porting can give a game a second life, keeping it relevant and playable for a longer period.

Real-World Case Studies from iLogos Game Porting Services

Porting "Angry Birds 2"

Porting

We at iLogos had the privilege to work on porting "Angry Birds 2", a globally recognized mobile game. Our task involved adapting the game for new platforms while maintaining its original charm and gameplay. 

Our Contributions:

  • Adapted game mechanics for multiple platforms.
  • Ensured seamless gameplay experience across different devices.

Challenges Overcome:

  • Maintaining the game's original feel on new platforms.
  • Optimizing performance for varied hardware specifications.

Value Added:

  • Broadened the game's reach to new audiences.
  • Enhanced player engagement and satisfaction.

This project showcased our ability to handle widely popular titles with precision and care, ensuring a seamless transition across different platforms. 

Porting "Shadow Fight 2"

Porting

Another highlight in our portfolio is the porting of "Shadow Fight 2". This project required us to carefully consider the unique mechanics and aesthetic of the game while adapting it for additional platforms. 

Our Contributions:

  • Preserved the unique aesthetics and mechanics during porting.
  • Implemented platform-specific enhancements.

Challenges Overcome:

  • Adapting intricate graphics and combat mechanics.
  • Ensuring consistent user experience across platforms.

Value Added:

  • Expanded the game's global footprint.
  • Increased accessibility and user base.

Our team's expertise was instrumental in preserving the game's essence, ensuring new audiences could enjoy the same immersive experience. Learn more about our Game Porting Services.

Final Thoughts

Porting a game is an investment in its future. While costs vary, the return can be substantial in terms of expanded audience and prolonged game life. Choosing the right partner for this journey is crucial, and at iLogos Game Development, we pride ourselves on providing quality, cost-effective porting services tailored to your unique needs.

Join us in expanding your game’s horizons. Together, let's explore the potential of your creative vision across various platforms!

For further insights into the specifics of video game porting, including an in-depth look at the process, we invite you to read our Comprehensive Video Game Porting Guide.

FAQ

What is Game Porting and Why is it Important?

Game porting is the process of adapting a video game to run on a different platform than the one it was originally designed for. It's crucial because it allows games to reach a broader audience by making them accessible on various devices and platforms, thereby potentially increasing a game's lifespan and revenue.

How Much Does It Typically Cost to Port a Game?

The cost of porting a game can vary widely, typically ranging from $5,000 for small-scale projects to over $100,000 for large-scale, complex games. Factors like game size, complexity, target platform specifications, and the expertise of the development team significantly influence these costs.

What Factors Should Be Considered When Estimating Game Porting Costs?

Key factors include the scale and complexity of the game, hardware limitations and unique features of the target platform, and the experience and location of the development team. The scope of work and team size needed for the project are also crucial considerations.

What are the Benefits of Porting a Game to Multiple Platforms?

Porting a game to multiple platforms can expand market reach, open up additional revenue streams, enhance brand visibility, and extend the game's life. It enables developers to tap into new audience segments and leverage the growing mobile gaming market.

Are There Any Challenges Specific to Game Porting?

Yes, challenges in game porting include maintaining the game’s original feel on new platforms, optimizing performance for different hardware, and adapting gameplay mechanics and controls suitable for the target platform. Ensuring a consistent user experience across various platforms is also a significant challenge.

What are the common pitfalls to avoid during the game porting process to ensure a smooth transition across platforms?

Common pitfalls include underestimating the differences in platform hardware and user interface, leading to performance and usability issues.

How do developers decide which game features to modify or remove during the porting process to suit the new platform's capabilities?

Developers prioritize core gameplay elements that define the game's identity, modifying or removing features that are not compatible with the new platform's capabilities.

What role does user feedback play in the post-porting phase, and how do developers integrate this feedback into updates or patches?

User feedback is crucial for identifying and fixing post-port issues, with developers often releasing updates or patches based on this input.

How do cultural and regional considerations impact the game porting process?

Cultural and regional considerations affect localization efforts, including language, cultural references, and content sensitivity, to ensure the game is well-received in new markets.