So should all video game companies adopt the practice of Outsourcing? This blog will talk about the less obvious benefits of outsourcing in the world of video games, and explain why the practice is essential for the modern-day video game industry.
Game outsourcing means delegating to external studios, artists, and developers a variety of development tasks, from 2D or 3D animation to character design. With competition rising and the economy slows down at the moment, outsourcing is no longer a strange practice in the video game industry.
According to Brice (2009)[i], 83% of UK video game developers including Blitz Games and Ubisoft Reflections have admitted to outsourcing various aspects and elements of their gaming projects.
Many companies in the industry started using it initially as a short-term cost-saving strategy but later adopted it as an essential business strategy for their firm due to the vast amount of advantages that came with it.
Despite its booming popularity within the gaming industry, many are still skeptical when it comes to outsourcing for their video game production due to its drawbacks being a little more obvious & immediate, for example low-quality art assets.
- Regardless of the studio size, outsourcing or subcontracting will allow companies to assemble a team of artists relatively quicker than conventional method of recruiting in-house staff. This will give the company a head start in the competition over other firms in the market.
- The extra time gained can also be used to either make more content or polish the current content for a better gaming experience.
- Outsourcing also give small developers an opportunity to go into production without any R&D of their own, which is a very effective way to create art assets without a lot of investment. Certainly, cutting-edge content can’t be made via this method, but most studios don’t really try to achieve or need that to develop entertaining & successful games.
- Outsourcing or subcontracting allows video game companies to temporarily add more resources by recruiting more developers when they are needed, and release them when they aren’t, without any hassle or hard feelings.
- Companies will not have to worry about replacing or find more suitable projects for developers who can’t keep up with a certain on-going project, as this task will be handled by the outsourcing service provider.
- Plus, by utilizing external development, internal art managers of video game companies can worry less about the chance of artists and developers being frustrated or depressed because they don’t like the project given to them.
- This also means that internal teams of video game companies can be utilized more efficiently and effectively as they can now focus and work on more important and interesting tasks of the game since the more mundane and repetitive tasks can be handled by external parties.
- External development can be utilized to complete time-consuming tasks more quickly, as it is possible to temporarily assign multiple artists or developers to the same task.
- More assets can be produced in a shorter amount of time (as they are being created or developed in parallel), which ultimately shortened the total time spent of each staff, making it easier for them to meet deadlines and milestones of the developing process.
- Without outsourcing, this would be rather difficult to accomplish in-house, as the work would have to be split up and distributed among multiple artists, which would take longer & lower the efficiency of the whole studio.
- A high level of employee turnover indicates and adds inconsistency, uncertainty, and even fear within the video game studio or company.
- The correct use of outsourcing would provide a company with great continuity and stability, as the sight of colleagues join and leave as projects go in and out of production will be eliminated.
- Outsourcing can help to preserve teams’ social dynamics, decrease chances of conflicts, and maintain their productivity. Plus, subcontracting also enables production to continue while in-house staff is away on holidays and vacations, even during weekends if necessary.
There are many more benefits that can come from outsourcing in the video game industry. While the practice can seem like a threat at first glance, the benefits of outsourcing in the gaming industry are far outweigh the initial perceived risks.
Without outsourcing, games would definitely be much shorter, have less variety or lower quality graphics, or they would have to be much more expensive due to the efforts the studios and companies have to put out to develop it.
Consequently, fewer games would be made and many developers would encounter even more trouble remaining in business. All of this is the reason why gaming companies should adopt outsourcing as one of their most important business strategies as soon as possible.
Brice, K 2009, Outsourcing is fundamental for UK game development, gamesindustry.biz, available from <http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/outsourcing-is-fundamental>, 25 May 2015