How much does VR application development cost?
The virtual reality development has changed the idea of the impossible! The future is literally here. Today, the usual computer and video games are gradually moving into the historical archive giving way to new technologies. Now we can bring to life the most daring ideas of science fiction writers.
And while new technologies are making the lives of some of us more fascinating, they’re also helping others win all users' hearts and earn money. And if your business is already app-focused, it's time to think about supplementing it with a VR effect. Therefore, you should consider the necessity of VR app development. Of course, you'll have to spend a fair amount of money to implement this great idea… but the game is worth the candle.
To help you plan your app development budget, we've written this article. We hope that our tips will be useful for figuring this issue out.
VR application development implies the creation of a world in which a person experiences sensations as close as possible to the real ones. There are different configurations of VR systems depending on the devices used, such as smartphones, glasses, 3D video cubes and even VR rooms. Some of them have such a strong impact on a person's feelings, that sometimes it is impossible to distinguish an artificial environment from a real one.
Today, virtual reality technologies are becoming more and more in demand in the innovation market, and their diversity is just amazing. Such success is due to the possibility of using VR apps in a variety of areas including an entertainment, training, research, advertising, medical and architectural one.
So, virtual reality applications will be useful for:
- online games
- healthcare development
- travel agencies
- hotel business
- education area
- online stores
Undoubtedly, the virtual reality application development is a new level of technological progress that allows us to complement and expand human consciousness by using its hidden resources.
If we haven't persuaded you to hunt down a question of how to create a virtual reality app, here are a few prime examples that you may find more convincing.
- This is a great way to increase the user engagement because people perceive the world visually. Virtual reality apps are the first invention capable of transmitting smells, sounds and touches in real time, and generating situations that are possible (and impossible) in a person's everyday life thereby revealing human potential. And your users will have paid tribute to your desire to provide them with such a wonderful opportunity to extend their usual experience.
- VR apps development will help you to communicate your idea to the consumer more clearly. For example, instead of just posting a photo of your store, let a user literally plunge into its atmosphere.
- Thanks to the virtual reality mobile service, you get an additional channel of communication with your client which leads to increasing the loyalty factor.
Of course, you are also interested in the VR app development costs, and we will certainly satisfy your curiosity. But first, we would like to answer another important question, namely…
For each type of business, there is an optimal way of making a profit. In general, we have an article devoted to monetization.
In short, the system is quite simple: either you are looking for advertisers (sponsors who will pay you money for using your reality app as an advertising platform), or you offer a user a free basic functionality with the right to access other features for a modest fee. This can be implemented in the form of built-in purchases or a monthly subscription system.
Let's look at examples of successful app development (we mean VR apps, of course!)... perhaps, inspired by their success, you will follow their lead.
#1. Google Cardboard (iOS, Android)
Applications from Google are the first ones in the list of recommendations to any owner of the VR-headset. The official YouTube app will allow you to see the beauty of the US national parks or visit concerts and excursions shot by the Video360Production project team. Moreover, Google Street View will transfer a user to anywhere in the world (if, of course, this place has already been imprinted in a panoramic photo).
#2. Jaunt VR (iOS, Android)
In 2013, one of the creators of this application had visited the Zion National Park and realized that he would like to be able to return there again - at any time from anywhere in the world. This led to the development of the Jaunt app, the aggregator of videos in the video 360 format, the main requirement for which is maximum realism and the effect of immersion. All of the videos are conveniently divided into categories - sports, news, music, travel and so on.
#3. Within VR (iOS, Android)
This is a mobile app that has collected all the videos of the Within company. The founder of the company, director Chris Milk, believes that virtual reality is not just another entertainment technology for video game fans. He thinks that VR helps to exchange emotions and feelings. By the way, Within offers not only a documentary to watch: in the application, you'll find videos of other genres, for example, a psychedelic music video Stor Eiglass.
#4. NYT VR (iOS, Android)
The New York Times newspaper has brought journalism to a new level: the editors decided to expand the standard toolkit of the reporter so that the viewer could go directly to the center of events - for example, to watch the assault of the Fallujah city of Iraq in June 2016.
It’s rather cool, isn’t it? Wanna join the ranks of these market leaders? Okay, it means you are ready to learn how to make a virtual reality app.
But where should you start?
Of course, it is quite obvious that any project should start with the documentation, the so-called functional specification. To begin with, you should fill out the brief which you will be offered by the app development company. The goal of this stage is to formulate your wishes for the future VR app. Based on this information, one can create a detailed document that will describe the requirements for your mobile service and specify all the deadlines.
This functional specification will greatly simplify the app development process, and the team you have hired will be able to justify your expectation.
Filling out the brief and describing your wishes for the mobile app, you should remember about:
- objectives of the project;
- desired app features;
- possible ways to monetize your app;
- the user problems you want to solve.
The more clearly you describe your task, the more likely you are to get exactly what you expect.
Well, now it's time to move on to the most interesting issue, namely, the price for application development! So…
Let's analyze in stages which factors are forming the price when developing the VR app.
#1. Reputation and experience of the chosen company
Of course, the more experienced app developers work in the company you've hired, the more money they ask for their services. And company expertise will inevitably affect the development costs… but, on the other hand, the quality will also be better in this case. So, if you want to save money, choose the golden mean: do not pay only for the name of the agency, make sure that you are offered the highest quality services.
#2. App developers location
Besides the reputation that affects the cost of development, it is also important to take into account the location of the company. Experts from a country with a high living standard have greater demands - this is only natural! Of course, their wishes regarding their own earnings do not always positively influence the quality of work. It's not a problem to find app developers with the same expertise, but with lower rates that are due to the fact of residing in another country.
Therefore, if you have a limited app development budget, choose specialists from Eastern Europe: their rates are quite moderate, and the level of work is still high. And if one says even more specifically, then you should hire a Ukrainian team: Ukrainian experts are very knowledgeable about IT technologies and ask for $30-50 per hour of work. Of course, programmers from India are even cheaper, but they usually write non-quality code that does not differ in clarity and purity.
To make sure that we are not unfounded, compare the rates of developers from different countries!
#3. VR app complexity level
Virtual reality applications cannot be cheap, their implementation requires certain expert skills, and not every developer is skilled enough to create such a difficult mobile service. However, the concept of high cost has different degrees. Let's discuss this issue!
- the simplest applications, such as elementary games. Their creation takes about 3-5 weeks;
- applications of medium complexity, for example, an online store or a more complex game. It takes about 4-6 months of mobile app development;
- complex applications. In this case, the development time lasts from a year and more.
If the cost factor is of decisive importance for you, try to simplify the functionality of your application and remove all the expensive features. Leave only the most significant ones.
In the process of developing virtual reality applications, one should focus on the following platforms:
- Gohar VR
- Oculus Rift
- Google Cardboard
- HTC Vive
Ideally, you need to know how to create a VR app that will work on any platform a user prefers (perhaps, after a little customizing). Of course, this factor should be taken into account when analyzing VR development cost.
#5. Payment Methods
The most affordable option is a fixed price project when you have an approved budget, and your developers should not overrun it. Of course, this version of payment has its drawbacks. And the main one is that you, too, are limited to your budget and cannot come up with new ideas (if you have them). All requirements for the VR application must be determined in advance and documented.
However, if you are willing to pay for higher quality, it is best to choose a more flexible pricing system based on specific requirements for the future VR app. Think about how your application should look like in order to meet your expectations and fulfill the tasks assigned to it. Consult with a hired professional team, let its experts advise you on how best to translate the idea into reality. Of course, in this case, it is impossible to determine the exact application development cost beforehand, but it can be said with certainty that your VR service would become a source of your permanent income.
Let's discuss what experts you will need for developing virtual reality applications. So:
- Project Manager. His task is to supervise the project, discuss its state with the client and serve as a link between the developer and the customer.
- Designers. When it comes to virtual reality, the designer's task becomes especially difficult. The classic principles of two-dimensional interface design do not work for VR. In this case, you need to experiment with new abstractions. And designers working in a three-dimensional environment are high-class specialists, and therefore their services greatly increase the cost of the project.
- Developers. You will need at least three (and sometimes more) experts for app development. They will have to create an application able to work on different platforms and compatible with various devices.
- QA engineers. Without these specialists, it is dangerous to release the application. They should guarantee that the created service works smoothly and without any troubles.
We've settled all the preliminary issues, now it's time to proceed to the main question: how much does it cost to develop a VR app? Let’s summarize…
In general, the virtual reality application development takes from a month to several years. As we said, it all depends on your requirements for the desired VR service. The more complex the program, the more time its implementation should last. Of course, the final price will also be higher…
We guess it would be reasonable to list the main development stages. It'll provide insight into the matter:
- Market research. The obligatory stage which allows one to orientate to the market situation and offer the client the optimal solution.
- Project documentation. At this stage, all requirements for the VR application are being compiled and documented, along with the specifying deadlines.
- Prototyping. The goal of this stage is to develop and visualize the logic and structure of the application. Understanding how each screen of your service will look like, you will be able to make the necessary adjustments in a timely manner.
- Design. As we have already explained to you, this stage requires a special approach and skill level when it comes to virtual reality. Therefore, the time costs are accordingly increasing.
- Programming. This is the most crucial part of the development process which involves writing clear and understandable code.
- Testing. At this stage, QA engineers conduct all required tests to ensure the efficiency and error-free operation of your VR app.
- Release and support of the application. This is the final, but no less important, step in the development process when reality apps finally appear in stores AppStore and Google Play.
Having made all the necessary calculations, you will know what budget you need. And we can help you by providing the following figures:
- elementary VR games which offer the simplest conditions: for example, to reach a certain ultimate goal or finishing line having overcome on your way some obstacles (say, boulders, trees, etc.). Their development cost reaches $ 3 000 - $ 9 000;
- online stores that use VR effect. This is a very promising direction: an excellent opportunity to show your potential buyer how your store looks in 3D format. The price is about $ 10,000 - $ 30,000;
- more complex games. For instance, horror games like Wilson's Heart (it is a very popular single-player horror game designed for Oculus Rift headset). The price ranges between $ 30,000 - $ 85,000;
- complex applications, such as MMORPG (Massively multiplayer online role-playing game). We can name such a MMORPG game as “Sword Art Online” that uses the story of the television anime Sword Art Online and allows games to virtually battle with the help of “Nerve Gear” VR headset. When it comes to the MMORPG development, the app cost is about $ 90-150 000 (or even more).
After virtual reality application development, you might think that the job is done, and you can rest on your laurels. A grand delusion! The release of the application is just the first step towards your future success. And in order to make the created service economically profitable, you should provide for several items of expenses, namely:
- Marketing support. It involves the use of technologies that contribute to the promotion of your app. Such technologies include SMM marketing, advertising campaigns, competent PR and others in the same way.
- Application functionality support. To be successful, your VR app must be constantly updating so that to delight users with new interesting features. That's why it would be reasonable to hire a company to support your service. This support will cost you about $20-70 per hour (if you hire professionals from Eastern Europe - American experts will ask for a higher rate).
So, now you know almost everything about how to make virtual reality apps. Are you ready to take risks and improve your business through unique VR technologies? Then do not hesitate, order our app development services right now! Our company employs only highly professional specialists who are keen on their business and willing to take up a challenge.
We guarantee you a successful app development and mutually beneficial cooperation.
We are waiting for your letters, messages, and calls!