Some games cost very little and flourish in the market. Their success is for a variety of reasons, but one thing that remains consistent is that the game's gameplay is enjoyable. Graphics, lasting appeal, and online functionality can also matter.
According to kotaku.com, "Four years ago, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot estimated that the average production budget for the generation of games following Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 would be $60 million." The following games cost relatively very little to develop and gross millions in sales. This is 10 low-budget games that made a ton of money.
Outlast, a relatively low budget game, made a ton of money. The website of gameindustry.biz details how Outlast cost a mere CAD 1.36 million to develop but grossed over $64 million.
The simplistic gameplay of Outlast proved to be very effective as part of a first-person narrative. For game development companies, it is a dream come true. Put little into a game and receive a high return. Its low budget does not correlate with the enjoyability of its gameplay. Outlast is a frightening first-person survival horror game that you need to play.
9 Stardew Valley
Many video games cost over $10 million to develop, but games like Stardew Valley prove that its not always about money spent. With Stardew Valley, simplicity is key. As detailed by gamerevolution.com, "By the end of 2016 it was estimated that Stardew Valley was owned by more than two million Steam users.
This statistic puts the title's estimated revenue at over $25 million on PC alone. Since the game was released on numerous platforms, including iOS, Android, Xbox One, and PS4, Stardew Valley may have grossed near $50 million. It has earned so much revenue, and one person developed it!
Of course, we couldn't leave out Minecraft, one of the highest-grossing games of all time. The original Minecraft was developed by one person named Markus 'Notch' Persson and is an anomaly in gaming due to grossing way more than its development cost.
It's an indie game that has too many sales to count. Estimates by gamespot.com put its sale figures above 176 million. In September 2014, Microsoft purchased Minecraft and developer Mojang for $2.5 billion. This is one low-budget game that made a ton of money!
Starbound is an indie game that places players on an alien world where they have to repair their ship to explore the universe. It's one of the few procedurally generated games that have paid off.
Developer Chucklesfish sourced their cash flow by using crowdfunding. Starbound stayed in the early access phase for a great deal of time, but in the end, it was worth it. According to gamesindustry.biz, Starbound has sold over $2.5 million copies, putting their sales figures in the tens of millions of dollars.
Runescape is a free-to-play massively multiplayer online role-playing game that gives the option to be a paid member. Comparable to games like the Elder Scrolls Online and World of Warcraft, Runescape has addictingly fun and intuitive gameplay.
According to gamesindustry.biz, Runescape's developer Jagex reported total sales of £50 million ($77 million). The graphics are not the greatest, but it's one of those games where it doesn't matter. Performing tasks like fishing, blacksmithing, mining, and completing quests give Runescape high replay value. Most of the game's profits are reinvested into Runescape, so be sure to check it out!
Developed by Alexey Leonidovich Pajitnov, a Soviet Russian software engineer, Tetris gained widespread popularity when it released on the Nintendo Game Boy. Since then, it has become the best-selling game of all time, with more than 500 million sales.
This simplistic game tests players' puzzle-solving skill in a fast-paced environment. It's addictive and fun, which is why it has received numerous spinoffs and continues to grow in sales. If each copy of Tetris were priced conservatively at $5 the game would have earned $2.5 billion.
Fez is a puzzle-platform indie video game that released in 2012 for Xbox Live Arcade. For those who don't remember, Xbox Live Arcade was the arcade store on the Xbox 360. Through this platform, Fez was able to sell around 20,000 copies on its first day.
Despite having numerous bugs, Fez scored a 90 on Metacritic. Although the game appears to be two-dimensional, it is actually a three-dimensional game since each of the four sides can be rotated. Playing one of four sides in the game works well in practice. Fez has been ported to the PlayStation 4 and other consoles, so it's not too late to play Fez today!
3 Castle Crashers
Games that launch on Xbox Live Arcade often have a low-budget. Castle Crashers is a 2D game with a basic premise, yet is addictingly fun. If you like beat 'em up video games like Super Smash Bros., there's a strong chance you'll like Castle Crashers. It supports four-player cooperative gameplay, which is even more reason to play Castle Crashers.
The top-selling Xbox Live Arcade game of all time is Castle Crashers. According to venturebeat.com, it gained over 2.6 million downloads. Due to the wide success of the game, it was ported to consoles like the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
2 Dead Cells
This roguelike-Metroidvania has received critical acclaim for its smart combat system and stellar gameplay elements. Players must restart the game when they die, which forces players to learn from their mistakes. Dead Cells could be the best Metroidvania game ever to be released. Even with a relatively low budget, it managed to earn millions of dollars in sales.
1 Hollow Knight
Hollow Knight is another Metroidvania game that started with a low budget and went on to be a huge hit. Inspired by games like Dark Souls and Bloodborne, Hollow Knight has grueling boss fights that may deter some players. Those who aren't afraid of a challenge, however, may find themselves with a new favorite game.
According to gamingbolt.com, Hollow Knight was made "on a minuscule budget, with a positively tiny development team behind it. The game has a low price of approximately $15, which is even more reason to buy Hollow Knight. With all that said, Hollow Knight has sold more than 2.8 million units!