How Much It Cost To Put An Indie Game On Xbox One

How Much It Cost to Put An Indie Game on Xbox One

Making games as a solo developer is a hard lifestyle. You can put a lot of hours into making something that goes nowhere. But figuring out what platforms to publish on and how much things will cost is a whole other stress. Here's how much it cost to put one indie title onto Xbox One. Spoiler: launching it on PC is cheaper.

Sixty Second Shooter Prime came out for Microsoft's newest home console a few weeks ago. Now, creator Jamie Fristrom is sharing info about the money spent to accomplish that feat:

You might think, since Microsoft is giving away their dev kits to early adopters of the [email protected] program, as long as you have no offices and pay everyone with rev share you could ship a game for just about nothing. But that's not quite the case: let's look at how our costs broke down:

Maintaining the Sixty Second Shooter URL 19
Sending the second dev kit to Brett Douville 63
Hardware (usb and video cables and the like) 72
Video capture device (for making trailer) 181
Localisation (French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese) 729
E&O Insurance 2037
Foreign ratings boards (PEGI, USK) 2042
Total 5143

So, about $US5K. Not as cheap to make as a PC game - by a long shot.

Now, this accounting isn't factoring actual development costs, likely because Sixty Second Shooter already existed in slightly different forms. But the info about having to pay regional ratings boards to get your game categorized is illuminating, as is the insurance purchase required by Microsoft. This stuff isn't just academic, either. As Fristrom points out, he has to choose to spend money or not every time the game comes out in a new region. But, it's encouraging to hear him say that the XB1 version of the game turned a profit, despite the money he spent to get it there.


    The localisation and classification expenses aren't exactly unique to console games (or at least shouldn't be). The "Errors & Omissions Insurance" seems to be the big additional cost.

    It's a shame to see another developer choose not to do business in Australia due to classification costs though :(

    Last edited 31/07/14 12:03 pm

      Region switched and purchased from the US. Is pretty hectic and fun!

    What isn't needed for a PC release? Besides the dev kit everything else is needed.

      Agreed, seems like the devkit was the only Xbox One related cost? And that was the second one!

      The insurance is an added cost required by MS, plus I don't think steam games need to go to the ratings board? Those two add 80% of the cost.

        Doesn't every game need to be rated before they can be sold including PC digital versions?

          I can buy Shovel Knight right now on Steam, it doesn't have any rating displayed.

            Okay, but why haven't you bought Shovel Knight already?

              Because I'm waiting for the 3DS version, which is still going through localisation and ratings board approval. Stupid system.

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