The soaring expenses associated with game development are becoming increasingly apparent, but what often remains in the shadows is the colossal marketing machinery behind many titles.

While information on marketing expenditures for blockbuster games is limited, a recent report has surfaced revealing that Monopoly Go boasts a marketing budget nearing $500 million (over 5 billion SEK), according to an interview with Game File. The mobile game was launched as recently as April 2023, implying that the team behind it, Scopely, has spent significantly more on advertising and marketing in less than a year than the cost of developing truly lavish high-budget projects.

For comparison, last year’s Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 reportedly cost Insomniac approximately $300 million and five years to develop, while Horizon Forbidden West and The Last of Us: Part II incurred costs of $212 million and $220 million for Guerrilla and Naughty Dog respectively. Cyberpunk 2077 is said to have cost CD Projekt Red around $440 million in total, including marketing expenses and the costs of creating the expansion Phantom Liberty.

Although the marketing costs of Monopoly Go may seem staggering, it should be noted that the game is reported to have raked in around $2 billion, meaning that its marketing expenses account for roughly a quarter of that colossal figure, generating a profit of approximately 15 billion SEK.

The escalating costs of marketing in the gaming industry raise concerns about the sustainability of such ventures, particularly for smaller developers who may struggle to compete with the massive budgets of major corporations. As game budgets continue to balloon, it remains to be seen how developers will navigate the evolving landscape of game development and marketing, and whether alternative strategies will emerge to mitigate the financial burden on the industry as a whole.

Source: Game File