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Kabam ready to spend $24 million on a single mobile game by 2018

Mobile powerhouse Kabam is going to spend big to secure its future as the next decade of smartphone gaming draws near.
"If you're going to spend $14 million upfront, and that's a pure production budget for us, we're ready to lay down probably close to $10 million on the marketing side."

- Kabam CEO Kevin Chou on the booming budgets of triple-A mobile titles.

Mobile powerhouse Kabam is going to spend big to secure its future as the next decade of smartphone gaming draws near. 

Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, Kabam CEO Kevin Chou talked up the studio's approach to console-like design, explaining its next generation of games will have graphics comparable to PS4 and Xbox One titles, and retention-boosting gameplay in the form of over 40 hours of day one content. 

It's a fresh approach for the Marvel: Contest of Champions dev, and although Chou is keen to point out that "it's a Kabam strategy, so I shouldn't say every game is going to be like this," it's going to be an expensive one. 

Serving up some insights as to how much it might cost, Chou believes that, when 2018 rolls around, the company will be prepared to fork out tens of millions on a single game.

"Certainly with the current generation [of consoles], we'll be competitive on a mobile device basis in 2018," suggests Chou.

"That is certainly making our budgets increase. But to your point, if you're going to spend $14 million upfront - and that's a pure production budget for us - we're ready to lay down probably close to $10 million for the launch budget on the marketing side."

Putting that into context, the studio boss recalls that around three years ago $3 million was "considered a pretty full budget" for a mobile title. Perhaps $5 million if a dev was really trying to push the boat out. 

It's all part of Kabam's long-term plan, though, and if Chou's grand vision bears fruit, those big-budget releases will pay the bills for years to come. 

"If you look at Clash of Clans or Game of War, these are $1 billion a year franchises, and they've been at the top of the charts for three-plus years now," he adds.

"We actually think these games are going to be out for the next 10 years, and it's a great payoff, right?"

For more from Chou, head on over to GamesIndustry.biz.

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