Want to Kick Game Development into High Gear? Outsourcing May Be the Way to Go

Simply put, outsourcing game development means collaborating with a third party to get help with the game development process.

Want to Kick Game Development into High Gear? Outsourcing May Be the Way to Go
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Simply put, outsourcing game development means collaborating with a third party to get help with the game development process. The decision to do so generally turns out to be the same for most studios: meeting demands while minimizing costs.
Game development and post-launch support have so many different elements that most game studios outsource at least a part of a project. A survey conducted by Tiga, a non-profit gaming association, reported that 83% of UK game developers have outsourced at least one business process.
This development modality provides many choices. Gaming companies can either fully outsource, co-develop or partially outsource in cases such as game art and design or quality assurance (QA).
When handing off the entire project, the involvement of the game company is minimal. The outsourced team does all the work: defining the tech stack and art style, coding, quality assurance, and post-release support.
A hybrid approach would be co-development, where the game publisher looks to fill expertise gaps or augment their staff to support the development workflow. Instead, the external team or freelancers solely focus on specific parts of the game.
A third and last approach is subcontracting help for just a single stage of the whole project, such as 2D/3D animation and design, audio creation, customer support, or QA testing. Relying on an external team to partake in some of the workloads might be a good idea to avoid missing deadlines or compromising project outcomes.
The latest trend? “Extreme outsourcing” is the new black.
Forbes defined the concept of “extreme outsourcing” in an article, describing this process as sending every possible function outside of your business, except the unique, core skill that lets you create value. Rather than developing games in-house, companies are trending toward only taking care of all the business management and marketing. They outsource most (if not all) of the productive processes (game design and development, player support, localization, QA).
Why would gaming studios go as far as outsourcing most of the work in the future?
Because the benefits are clear. Here are five tips on what to expect when outsourcing game services:
Cutting costs: being able to hire teams anywhere in the world means that your company can develop games at lower costs. A new game also means new graphics cards, headsets, high-resolution monitors, and software licenses, among many other budget-breakers. Instead, outsourcing partners can amortize the costs by running several projects in parallel.
Saving time: attracting and retaining relevant talent requires a lot of time, resources, and money. Outsourcers have established processes in place to source talent, saving your team a lot of headaches to hire, onboard and train in-house staff.
Being flexible: outsourcing enables gaming companies to downsize or ramp up the team much more flexibly when the need arises.
Boosting quality and innovation: by working with external teams, in-house teams can get new perspectives and tackle challenging problems from different angles, which leads to better, more innovative games.
Go global: why stick to a single market if you can publish your game globally? Localization, player support, and community management are key to the success of your game in other markets, but they are very complex to manage inhouse.
Summarizing, outsourcing is a great way to speed up the development cycle while increasing quality and boosting efficiency. The next step is finding a reliable vendor that your team can trust. Case studies, undisputable track record, clear communication, and references are definitely good things to look out for in a partner.

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Written by

Jonathan Shroyer
Jonathan Shroyer

Chief CX Officer at Arise Gaming