The other day I received an inquiry from a museum who had a creative and out-of-the-box idea. It was a smaller museum that typically curated more modest exhibits, and they had recently come upon a unique opportunity to collaborate with a well-known museum in a major city. The planned collaboration would allow them to borrow pieces from one of their major collections over time, and it quickly became clear to me that this had the potential to be an amazing opportunity for both museums. Their idea was to create an app that would encourage visitors to discover and interact with the exhibit in unique ways while also offering guests a closer look at the influences, techniques and vision that brought the pieces to life.
The video conference started off like most of my calls where I asked them to explain what they were thinking and what they hoped to accomplish. After some discussion, we concluded that augmenting their upcoming exhibit with an app could:
- Build excitement for the exhibit
- Allow visitors to engage with the exhibit before and after their museum experience thus extending the impact
- Attract visitors who may not be normally drawn to the exhibit
- Give visitors an active and tangible way to experience the exhibit
We talked about our experience creating museum experiences for other clients and I provided them more details on our philosophy and approach to making learning games, how it would work, and how we work together with clients. I could tell that they were engaged, taking pages full of notes and asking great questions throughout the call.
I then turned the conversation to what I suspect is on most people’s mind when they call me – the cost of our services. I explained that we do fixed price, fixed scope estimates for clients and explained what it would take from both of us to develop that. In terms of ranges, I shared that most of the budgets for custom development projects end up being somewhere between $200,000-$400,000 but that last year we had completed a few projects under $100,000 and a few projects well over $500,000. I’ve previously blogged about the cost to make learning games if you are curious about diving more deeply into that.
At that point, the whole energy of the conversation changed as suddenly I was being apologized to for taking up my time and they explained that they had no idea what it would take. I want to tell you as I told them, apologies are completely unnecessary for a few reasons:
95%+ of people who inquire about our services have never made a learning game in their career so the point of the inquiry is to learn. I know it seems crazy that I get to do this and get paid for it, but my job is to educate people who inquire about what we do and to help them make a decision about whether making a game with us is the right thing to do for them.
The number 1 reason people end up not working with us is always because of the budget. I’m so used to it that it doesn’t bother me at all if by the end of the call you tell me the budget won’t align. You know why? Because I know through experience that things come back around. You might move to a new job where you do have a budget to make a learning game. You might meet someone who needs a learning game developer and you give them a referral to me. You might eventually apply to a grant and identify a funder who wants to fund learning game development and you will think of us as your potential partner.
On a personal level, the thing I love the most about my job is that I constantly get to meet excited and motivated people in different organizations all around the world. I actually very much love talking to new people, learning about their goals, hearing about their organizations, and sharing what I know and love about game-based learning.
So please. If you are having a glimmer of a thought about making a learning game, send us an inquiry and let’s hop on a video conference. You’ll be making my day – promise!