Augmented Reality App Development: How Much Does It Cost?

Augmented reality (AR) is the future. By 2020, shipments of AR glasses are forecasted to reach 5.4 million units, all thanks to the gaming industry, whose faithful customers continue to delve into the world of AR. Though AR technology has been around for some time, it gained popularity with apps like Pokémon Go – which in September of last year had over 500 million downloads. What’s exciting is that at least 500 million people have used or been exposed to AR technology and they may not even know it!

As mobile app markets continue to grow by the minute, many startups are scouring the world in search of the next best thing, while failing to realize that it’s right in front of them. Currently, the entertainment, health care, public safety and tourism industries are making large strides in the development of AR apps. So, time to strike while the iron is hot.

But what does it take to build such apps? How much does it cost to develop an AR app?

Some of the most well-known AR applications like Pokémon Go, Ink Hunter, Star Chart, Augmented Car Finder, and SpotCrime have likely shelled out large sums of money for their top rated applications, but it doesn’t have to be that expensive! There are a few factors that affect the cost of AR app development:

If I had to come up with some actual estimates, I’d say AR app development could start around $50,000 and can quickly move upward into the millions — all depending on the exact requirements. Besides the factors listed above, you also will need to consider some overhead costs which may include administrative costs, server space, infrastructure, testing and maintenance.

Let’s examine each of these factors to see how they affect the overall cost of AR app development:

Choice of Platform

Currently, there are two popular mobile platforms – iOS and Android. So, you have to first determine which platform you’d want to build your app on – whether it’s going to be an exclusively iOS app or you’d want to release it on Android as well. Unsurprisingly, the more platforms you want to cover, the more money you’ll have to pay (though it is not always 2X since reusability will remain a key focus while porting), so this one decision alone can affect the overall cost.

App Complexity

Simply put, the more dynamic the application, the larger the cost associated with incorporating AR technology. Applications that house more extensive collections of data, help users find and sort information, or allow them to play games require more in depth research and execution plans than those which are simple lists or not as dynamic by nature.

AR App Design

As app stores continue to be clogged up, design has become an element of differentiation. Design in that sense becomes the hook factor. Depending on how good or bad it is, it can either lure users in or repel them. Having said that, it’s clear that hiring expert UI and UX designers is going to cost you more.

Expertise of the App Development Company

When it comes to app development, you basically have two choices: DIY or hire an agency. With many SDK options available, you might even be able to do it yourself. But if custom app development is what you’re after, then you’re likely to partner with an app development company. And the rates will differ based on the expertise of the company.

Reputable agencies with an excellent portfolio, clientele and tons of experience tend to charge anywhere in the range of $29/hr to $149/hr. They are slightly costlier than your average freelance app developer but it’s a guarantee that your work will be done to the highest achievable standard.

Cost of a Basic AR App

Estimated Timeline & Efforts (some activities will run in parallel)

Estimated Cost for an App on one platform (iOS/Android/Windows)

$50,000 – $75,000

Cost of an Advanced AR App

Estimated Timeline & Efforts (some activities will run in parallel)

Estimated cost for an app on one front end platform (iOS/Android/Windows) with backend modules:

$200,000 – $300,000

These figures are only estimates and the actual cost is likely to vary depending on the scope of the work. But you know how the saying goes: you get what you pay for!

We have helped many startups realize their ideas. If you have an innovative AR app idea, schedule an Innovation Workshop today.