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Monopoly Go Spent Almost $500 Million On Marketing, More Than Spider-Man 2's Dev Budget

Image: Insomniac Games / Marvel / Hasbro / Scopely / Kotaku
Image: Insomniac Games / Marvel / Hasbro / Scopely / Kotaku

Monopoly Go, a multiplayer mobile board game, launched on April 11, 2023. Since then it has made over 2 billion dollars, been downloaded 100+ million times, and become one of the most popular digital games on the planet. But to reach this point, Scopely, the studio behind the hit game, has spent nearly $500 million on marketing alone, which is more than what Sony spent on some of its biggest games like Spider-Man 2 and The Last Of Us Part II.

You might not be aware of Monopoly Go, a mobile game released last year and inspired by the famous, classic board game, but it’s very likely that someone you know is playing it—perhaps a parent or an uncle or a sister. After all, the game is massively popular, with over 10 million daily players. According to a recent post from Scopely, in just three months it made a billion dollars. But that kind of success doesn’t come cheap or easy.

In a recent installment of Game File (as spotted by Gamespot) from former Kotaku EIC Stephen Totilo, Scopely’s senior VP of publishing Eric Wood confirmed that the company has spent around (but less than) $500 million on marketing and user acquisition alone. That’s not even factoring in the money spent developing the game, which took seven years, according to Scopely.

In comparison, poorly redacted court docs from 2023 revealed that The Last of Us Part II cost about $220 million to develop and Horizon Forbidden West cost around $212 million. We also know via hacked and publicly leaked files that Insomniac’s open-world blockbuster, Spider-Man 2, cost about $300 million to develop after going over budget. Outside Sony-produced games, Monopoly Go’s marketing budget even exceeds other massive releases. For example, the total reported budget for Cyberpunk 2077 and its DLC (this includes marketing costs, too) is around $440 million, which is likely less or about what Monopoly Go’s studio spent on just ads and user requisition.

It’s a good reminder that mobile games aren’t easy or cheap to produce. While plenty of big video game publishers have tried to make the leap from console games to mobile games, they rarely succeed, and not just because it costs so much to play in this space.

According to Game File’s interview, it takes a lot of work to create a game that brings people back day after day and offers them ways to “beat” the game’s own systems, letting them feel like they are winning when in reality (as always) it’s the house that comes out on top.

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