2nd of December 2019 – being open about costs

I said before I wanted to do 100 Vectorblade cartridges.

Doing 100 actually is kind of a bad idea. The more you produce – the less money for production per unit is needed. Everyone knows that.

But again, I am no “builder” – I just don’t want to do more… so 100 it was, still is and will be.

Also one of my aims with Vectorblade is: I don’t want to lose money. The games I did before, I gave away for free (also all hardware builds), being a hobby and all. But Vectorblade with “100” I can not give away for free.

Since I don’t want to lose money in the long run – I estimated the overall costs, these are divided in 3 section:

  • the final product “Vectorblade” for the “customers” (100)
  • material for prototyping (electronics, PCBs – but no tools like soldering iron….)
  • Deluxe edition (yes there will be one, 5 exclusive boxes, but the owners are already chosen, mainly the “production staff”)

The currently estimated cost for the above: 4627,0478 Euro (change rates makes it such a strange number)

This is still an estimated cost, since I do not have all data yet – and there might be changes. That means the finished Vectorblade will cost somewhere between 50 – 60 Euros + packaging / shipping cost.

Package dunno… 1-2 Euro?

(DHL) Shipping / insurance (500Euro) cost might be:
Germany: ~ 5Euro
EU: ~ 9 Euro
Switzerland: ~13 Euro
rest of the world: ~16 Euro

I know this is a lot of money for a retro game (something between 55 – 75 Euro in the end, plus possibly some taxes).

But that can’t be helped, I am sorry, I wish everything was cheaper too.

What you will get:

  • 1 game cartridge Vectorblade, with a cartridge label
    The PCB is a non standard pcb, which houses the Vectorblade game.
    The game is 192kB and is stored on a 256kB Flash, the 192kB game data is accessed with a 4 bank bankswitch scheme.
    Game data/highscores are saved to the flash chip.
  • one vectorblade box (size of original boxes)
  • one box protector
  • one instruction booklet
  • one diary booklet
  • one Vectorblade button
  • one overlay
  • one overlay protector

The final game, including data to make your own PCB and print your own boxes/overlays/booklets – will be made public domain! (Meaning: free for all)

Note 2:
The final game will be runnable on a VecFever device (and also save game data/ highscores), which has:

  • the IRQ line connected
  • at least firmware v1.22

If in the future devices are available, that can also handle the used 4 bank switch scheme – Vectorblade will probably be runnable.

Detailed costs as currently estimated (all prices in Euro and rounded):
(including some “savety” positions, boxes and overlays are slightly “overproduced”, so perhaps there might be a slightly higher number than 100 in the end))


  • game boxes: 380 €
  • overlays: 1700 €
  • cartridges: 280 €
  • electronic parts: 400 €
  • PCBs: 60 €
  • instruction booklets: 150 €
  • diary booklets: 140 €
  • buttons: 70 €
  • box protectors: 110 €
  • cartridge labels: 30 €
  • box inlays / overlay protectors: 300 €


  • electronic parts: 290 €
  • PCBs: 100 €

Vectorblade deluxe:

  • deluxe game boxes: 600 €
  • deluxe cartridges: 100 €

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10 thoughts on “2nd of December 2019 – being open about costs

  1. LimitZer0

    I totally understand capping it at 100. Just thinking about doing smaller runs of my “normal” eprom games worries me.

    The price seems fair to me. I have paid around that for Luchs-Soft games. MENSCHENJAGD is 85,67 EUR before shipping.

    I’m sure you’ve mentioned this before but can’t remember. Will you be taking pre-orders?

    Looking forward to it!

  2. Phillip Eaton

    Thanks for posting your estimates for the sake of transparency. There are a lot of parts there! Estimating for 100 makes it easy to work out unit costs. I’m surprised the overlay costs are so high, although the supplier needs to be trustworthy to deliver the right quality as you’ve found previously. Maybe ‘better the devil you know’. Have you thought about buying any of this stuff in from China? Also, there’s a guy on the UK video arcade collectors (UKVAC) who does arcade game artwork, marquees etc. His prices look pretty reasonable, maybe he can do something in bulk for you for overlays? From what I can tell the has a good reputation. Worth a look…

    1. Malban Post author

      The overlays are made by a “known” printer, slow but very high quality (same guy that made VectrexMad!s overlays).
      The boxes are from the same guy that made Stramash Zone, Big Blue etc…
      Cartridge shells – Sean Kelly.
      PCBs/electronics from China. Manuals/stickers from a German printer…

      All in all well known and “good” sources…

  3. Peer

    My general thoughts:

    Money and prices are artificial concepts that are based on how much value the individuals of a community are willing to assign to them.
    If you deem the value of an item to be less than the price that is demanded for it, then your personal decision should simply be not to buy it.
    And if you deem the value of an item to be equal or greater than the price that is demanded for it, then consequently you should also be willing to pay that price if you want to have the item.

    My specific thoughts:

    In your calculations, you did not figure in the huge amount of person-time and person-work (both the intellectual and creative work, as well as the physical work) put into this project. The estimated figure is (way) underpriced.

  4. Chris Parsons

    You missed out screws to hold the cart shells together 😉

    Great to see this coming to fruition Chris. It’s looking like an amazing game plus a top notch package judging by the suppliers you are using.

    The up front costs are very high and not sure a lot of people quite realise, I’m usually £7000 out of pocket before I start taking orders for my games… certainly can make you nervous about selling them all although the quality of Vectorblade I’m certain you could fairly easily pass 500 sales.

    Looking forward to seeing the final package!

    1. Malban Post author

      Ah, yes, that would be another 5€ or so.
      But I just “heard” that the packaging cost doubled and that the overlays will also cost slightly more…
      So nothing is final yet 🙂

  5. Brett

    I added up your costs, sans 700 for deluxe stuff, and divided by 100… it’s already 40 € so you are making 10 € per cart. Seems way underpriced to me for a year of development already and more to come. If this is a collectable polished mega game (that runs at 50 Hz or better :D) … I’d say 98.76 € seems fair.

  6. Graham Toal

    Was I alone in thinking on first glance that 4627,0478 was 4 million euros!!! I know Europe uses a comma instead of a decimal point, but I would have expected 4627,04 as the equivalent of 4,627.04. Those 78 millieuros really threw me off 🙂

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