What Does the Price for a Virtual Reality App Depend on?

Anastasia Morozova
Anastasia Morozova
Chief Operating Officer

Virtual reality applications become one of the major focuses for numerous app developers. With its fast growth, the virtual reality (VR) technology will soon become a reality.

What is the virtual reality price and how much should business be ready to spend to create a virtual reality app?

In its report, Statista forecasts the global VR hardware and software market size to reach the value of $12.1 billion in 2018. This figure is twice higher in comparison with the year 2017.

The agency also states that the number of VR users in 2018 will be around 171 million. The virtual reality market will significantly grow in the upcoming years.

Thus, the total revenue from virtual reality software is expected to increase by more than 3,000% in four years. In 2018, Statista projects that the VR software revenue will reach a total value of nearly $4.667 billion which is 70% more than in 2017.

Technology background

A cost of virtual reality varies depending on many factors. While the major part of virtual reality price depends on the type of virtual reality content, you should keep in mind other aspects that can significantly influence the total cost of your VR application.

In this paragraph, we will list three main components you should consider before creating a virtual reality project.

virtual reality price

Content

Before creating a virtual reality app, it’s necessary to determine the type of content you will provide. It’s an important factor that will greatly influence the cost of virtual reality.

Thus, the cost of a 360-degree video is lower than a simulation with complex and interactive graphics. In fact, the more realistic the graphics are, the more you will spend on the development of virtual reality project.

Despite many people often use “360” and “virtual reality” terms interchangeably, they have specific differences. The 360-degree media content is panoramic, images and videos stitched together; it allows users to turn their heads and look around in the virtual environments.

However, this type of content doesn’t allow free movements for a full exploration of a virtual world unlike in advanced VR experience. Though, all virtual reality devices provide both types of content.

Development tools

VR apps also can be classified by the development tools they are created with. You should determine which software development kit (SDK) you will use for your 3D engine.

For example, the most common 3D environments for developing VR games or other VR apps are Unity and Unreal.

They both have their benefits, but we prefer using Unity since it meets our requirements. With Unity, the development of virtual reality applications becomes much easier.

If you need a simple mobile virtual reality app for Cardboard or Daydream, your team can use Google VR NDK for Android or VR SDK for iOS to create an application without using Unity or another platform.

In case you need a complex VR game, then Unity or Unreal will be a good fit. Furthermore, a pro Unity version enables you to publish your VR app on Google Play or App Store automatically.

how much does virtual reality cost

Platforms

Before creating a virtual reality app, you should think about the experience of your end users. Do you want them to be mobile and able to experience virtual reality from anywhere just using their smartphone?

Instead, you may consider providing them with a more engaging experience that requires a high-end PC as well as a headset and controllers.

Your choice has to include the fact that users also have to spend their money on VR headsets and hardware that can be quite expensive.

Important factors that influence VR app development price

Even though it’s hard to find a single recipe for determining the potential price for developing a VR app, we can offer certain useful tips to help you forecast a virtual reality price list.

Stick to your promising ideas for building a virtual reality app and continue reading to learn how you can save some budget while creating and promoting your VR project.

how much does a virtual reality cost

Complexity

The development cost of virtual reality apps for Oculus Rift or GearVR depends on their complexity. You can develop a virtual reality app for multiple platforms, such as mobile, desktop, or console.

For example, a simple virtual reality game with primitive gameplay and low-quality 3D graphics can cost about $15,000-25,000.

Although, in case you want to attract more users and make a popular app within VR gaming, you should prepare for spending $50,000-200,000 or even more.

However, large-budget VR games such as Batman: Arkham VR developed for Microsoft Windows and PlayStation 4 cost much more, and it is easily explainable.

Immersion

To create a highly engaging virtual experience, you should ensure a high level of graphics quality. With realistic 3D environments, the cost of virtual reality will grow up.

Space Elevator is a virtual reality project we built for a design center. The purpose of this VR app was to make sense of flight through space with a real moving platform and virtual space views. Our primary challenge was to adjust the virtual view to the movement of the real platform.

In this application, we used the following technologies:

  • Maya
  • 3D Studio Max
  • Unity3D ( C#)

It took 3.5 months to create this project. When it was complete, user testing took about a month to ensure the perfectness of our product. Eight specialists worked on this project:

  • 1 3D designer
  • 1 3D animator
  • 2 Unity3D developers
  • 1 hardware specialist
  • 1 sound engineer
  • 1 quality assurance (QA) specialist
  • 1 project manager

With the total development time of about 720 hours and average per hour rate equal to $80/hour, such VR project can cost $50,000-$60,000.

how much does the virtual reality cost

Cross-platform

You may consider creating a cross-platform virtual reality application that would be able to run on different headsets. It will increase the total cost of your application but will allow your users to experience virtual reality on different headsets.

We, at Jasoren, built a VR app called Mission Mars for an interactive multimedia exhibition dedicated to the outer space. The main idea was to allow visitors to explore the Mars virtually. Our project was aimed at using with Oculus Rift. However, we optimized both graphics and animations to make the app available on Samsung Gear VR too.

For this project, we used the same technologies as for Space Elevator.

The whole development process took 2.5 months including one month of user testing in order to receive feedback from customers. Using Oculus Rift, visitors could experience Mission Mars. Taking into account their feedback, we have made several improvements to the scenario and the interactive mechanics to increase the quality of user experience.

The app works in a couple with a body-based tracker, so visitors can walk around the attraction and see the story from every angle. Our system knows a user position and streams content without lags. The same team worked for both Space Elevator and Mission Mars.

With the total development time of about 560 hours and average per hour rate equal $80/hour, such project can cost $45,000-$55,000.

Read also: Business Value and Cost of VR App Development for Exhibitions and Trade Shows

Professionalism of a chosen development agency

The experience of the team you consider hiring matters a lot.

How representative their portfolio is, how deep their expertise, and who entrusts them with virtual reality project development?

Does this team just do what they are paid for or maybe they also strive to help customers improve an initial idea to let them get the profitable result as possible?

We, at Jasoren, created a VR app for Samsung Gear VR for one of our clients, a French wine brand. The objective was to virtually bring visitors to the vineyard and allow them to experience virtual reality along with the blind wine tasting.

Using the VR headsets, visitors can see unlabeled bottles of wine. Within this VR experience, they see tips describing the characteristics of each sort of wine. Then they taste each sort of wine in reality and try to recognize each by each.

The development of the app core took about 90 hours, 75 hours for functionality, and 140 hours for UI core. The VR app design cost was €25,000, and its development took 220 hours. The total cost of the solution was €45,000.

Read also: How to Attract More Customers in B2B Using Virtual Reality: VR-Based Wine Tasting

Type of content

A total cost of any virtual reality solution significantly depends on the type of content it provides. The most affordable VR project obviously is a 360-degree video.

Once, one of our clients asked us to create a 360-degree video for training operators of forklifts. We created the video in the form of light animation, which made it possible to show the consequences of an incorrect job that cannot be demonstrated in real life.

The video was shown to forklift operators. They learned how to avoid potentially dangerous situations in their work.

The development of the app core took about 35 hours, the design creation took 170 hours, and 35 hours for UI core. The solution cost €20,000 (+ €11,100 each additional scenario/subject).

VR application development rates by country

Global rates for virtual reality app development mainly depend on the location of the team you consider hiring.

Therefore, you can significantly save your funds by hiring one or another team located in the country with comparatively low rates.

However, you should remember that the service price should be the least factor when you decide on choosing a particular team.

To answer the question of how much does virtual reality cost, we conclude by representing the approximate pricing for some common project types:

  • A VR demo app cost starts from $15,000;
  • For an online store with the virtual reality technology involved, you might pay about $50,000 – $100,000;
  • For a highly detailed horror game, you will have to spend $100,000 – $500,000.
  • To create a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), you will need to spend over $200,000.

Therefore, the cost of virtual reality apps may vary from $50,000 to $200,000.

Virtual reality app development is a complex process that requires a lot of knowledge, responsibility, professionalism, and expertise. This work involves many creative minds and a lot of assiduities to turn any project into a reality.

Perhaps, hiring the right team is one of the most important business steps to take since it’s essential to hire a VR development company you can entrust your precious idea.

Read more about VR:

Get our fresh tech stories delivered to your inbox!