The cost of virtual reality application development
Every day we get the question; how expensive is virtual reality and what costs should I take into account when developing VR applications? Without a detailed concept it is difficult to give an indication or estimate. Since we get the question so frequently we try to give an insight with this article. The costs are based on 6 years of experience and the development of dozens of VR apps for each platform and for various purposes.
The three different types of vr apps
We distinguish three types of virtual reality applications; mobile, stand-alone and desktop. The cost depends on the design, the functionalities and the required hardware.
Mobile VR applications
The user can look around, but not walk around, and limited interaction is possible. These applications mostly use 360 degree photos or animation to display the environment. Interaction is possible by, for example, selecting multiple-choice questions.
Walking through a room, grasping objects and complex interactions are not possible. These apps are more often used on a larger scale at, for example, group events, large-scale training courses or at companies with rapidly changing content.
These mobile vr applications involve the use of VR glasses such as a PICO, or a cardboard version such as the Google Cardboard.
Cost of a mobile VR application
As a rule, these applications are the cheapest because the environment is simple, the interaction limited and the hardware the cheapest. If you develop your own application, the costs start at around 20,000 euros and can go up to 40,000 euros. You can use existing platforms which reduces the cost because you only have to develop the content. Mobile VR glasses cost around 350 euros and a Google Cardboard only 5 euros.
Stand-alone VR applications
These applications often have a larger, more complex or more beautiful environment with more opportunities for interaction. For example, think about screwing together a pump or replacing an electric car battery as in the example below.
Stand-alone VR applications involve glasses like the Oculus Quest that do not require external hardware. Stand-alone glasses allow you to walk around and interact which does require more space.
- More complex applications without a PC
- Walk around and interact
- More aesthetically pleasing design
- More complex control
- Less scalable
- Less suitable for heavy applications
Costs of a mobile VR application
The cost of stand-alone vr applications is average. They offer the balance between complex interaction, design and scalability. The glasses are slightly more expensive than mobile VR glasses, about 400 euros. On average, a standalone vr application starts at the 25 thousand euro mark and rises to the 50 thousand mark.
PC VR applications
In this variant, VR glasses are connected to a PC or desktop. You can walk around and interact with controllers. Thanks to its high computing power, it is well suited for complex applications, realistic environments and real-time calculations. These apps are used for visualizations or simulations with complex interactions and/or lots of data.
- Beautiful, complex design
- Interactive elements
- Walk around and interact
- Least user-friendly
- Cables and PC needed
- Costly and less scalable
Costs of a PC VR application
Applications for the PC are the most complex. The price starts at about 30,000 euros and can go up to 60,000 euros or higher. The price of a pair of glasses is on average about 400 euros. Here you still need a good laptop or PC of about 2000 euros.