Market Drivers for Game Development Outsourcing

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Since COVID-19 kept everyone locked in their homes, video games have played a new role in people’s lives. They have been one of the few options for entertainment, one of the avenues for bonding with friends, and one thing that actually changes in a person’s day.

So it was not surprising to find the video game industry’s revenue in 2020 totaled more than $159 billion. With this high profitability, game studios are pressured to create and publish more titles. 

This forms only part of the market drivers behind game development outsourcing. But before we delve into the rest, let’s first take a look at the landscape of game development outsourcing.

Is There A Large Market for Game Development Outsourcing?

When you think of outsourcing, you think about several business processes. These business processes often pertain to clerical or administrative tasks. Also common is the association between this practice and community engagement work, such as chat and tech support. But is the video game industry equally rife with outsourced providers? 

According to an article in Gamesindustry.biz, 83% of UK game developers heavily relied upon outsourcing to slash costs in 2009. The same report cites research by industry trade group Tiga, who found another fundamental way UK-based game developers benefit from outsourcing, and that is helping them meet tight deadlines.

This article is more than a decade old. Since then, the game development niche in outsourcing has continued to expand and improve. Outsourcing partners have steadily learned to treat their clients as though they were their business partners, and that means quality, quality, and quality.

Image credits to Pixabay

Why the Market for Game Development Outsourcing Is Thriving

Games continue to experience increasing demands, especially since last year when they have been a huge source of entertainment. 

As a consequence, the market for game development outsourcing also experienced an upward trend. But aside from the need to churn out new games fast, what about outsourcing game development processes makes it so attractive for studios and video game companies?

We’ve trawled through the web to seek out game developers’ top motivations for outsourcing, and in this article, we tell you the common reasons we have found. 

Market Drivers for Game Development Outsourcing 

The Volume of Game Assets

High fidelity 3D games require intricate and elaborate details, even if they don’t stay on-screen very long. This type of video game aims to immerse players into the world the developers created, which means everything in it has to be believable. 

As a result, developers should populate the game environment with as many real-world objects as necessary. They could be buildings towering over characters, cars driving on a highway, or even extra game characters whose only purpose is to pass by. In other words, the volume of fleeting yet important game assets is difficult to surmount even for a game development team of 100 people.

But hiring talented artists in-house to accomplish this goal is counterproductive. You’re investing resources in work that another team could easily do with the same — or better — quality at a lower price. And this realization is one of the reasons behind game studios’ decision to outsource.

Image credits to Pixabay

Key Specializations and Creative Alignment

According to a report by Tholons, game development outsourcing is a unique field in that skill precedes quantity. A game development studio looking to outsource should primarily consider the outsourcing partner’s specialization and their creative and cultural affinity with the studio. This is because game development needs thorough collaboration between the in-house and outsourced teams. Since they will be working closely together, their work habits and creative vision must align.

We can use the previous market driver for game development outsourcing as an example. Let’s say a studio’s in-house team of artists is in the process of rendering their game’s core art assets. What they need now are accessory assets or details to populate the game’s scenes. However, they are after their game world’s specific style, and all the elements should have a coherent feel. Would it be wise to hire more in-house members and then train them, or is their best option to find a full team that understands their creative vision?

This is why outsourcing in game development continues to thrive. Outsourced providers in gaming have become more adaptable to their clients’ needs — so much so that it’s easy to find partners who can quickly grasp your ideas.

Excessive Work

In game development, there is always a tremendous amount of work to be done. As we demonstrated in the examples in the previous market drivers, game development needs outsourcing to reduce the amount of work in-house and speed up the process of development. Research group Goldmedia cites three types of work under art outsourcing:

  • Overflow work
  • Specialist work
  • Volume outsourcing

Overflow work is characterized by “rushed, short-term” projects with a small number of assets, whereas specialist work is designated for intricate work with the same low quantity. These two types of work are usually short-term, but volume outsourcing requires a long-term relationship between the studio and the outsourcing company since the latter will be responsible for the majority of the assets.

While Goldmedia’s research pertains to game art, you can apply a similar approach to game programming. Depending on the scale of a game, programmers are generally pressed for time because of the multifaceted work the job entails. 

In the production phase, programmers have to write code for the front-end and back-end game features. In the post-production phase, they have to sift out the bugs and inconsistencies in the code. So, for a studio to lighten their workload, they usually assign a development aspect to an outsourcing company specializing in the programming field their game demands.

Image credits to Unsplash

Scalability

Scalability is a huge reason why outsourcing, in general, has become a necessary strategy instead of a temporary one. With outsourcing, companies now have the option to scale down their workforce once they’ve completed their tasks. And they can easily add more to their team when the need arises. 

For game development, this setup is particularly important. There are times when the goal of studios is to simply have a set of assets rendered or a new feature developed. Once this is done, they no longer have use for the extra pairs of hands on their team. 

Other times, however, these studios require long-term artists or programmers for a project, but the work they need is redundant or necessitates a specific skill set.

In both scenarios, outsourcing addresses either requirement. Studios can either hire one-off artists and developers or work with the same for a long time. And the great thing about this talent pool is they have already been screened by the partner company, so you don’t have to.

In Summary

Because of the pandemic, the market for game development outsourcing has increased parallel to the success of the video game industry as a whole. And what we found to be the primary motivations for game development outsourcing are:

  • Game asset volume
  • Key specializations and creative alignment
  • Excessive work
  • Scalability

Want to experience all the benefits of outsourcing game development — and more? Partner with us today!

NarraSoft has seasoned programmers and creative artists who can easily align with your company’s vision.

Contact us today at sales@narrasoft.com and get a free consultation! You may also message our chat box or contact form. Let’s bring your game to the next level!

Justine Jordan

Justine Jordan

Justine Jordan is a content and copy writer. She has written for a popular business daily in the Philippines and for various startups across the globe before transitioning to work for NarraSoft. She graduated cum laude from the University of the Philippines-Diliman with a bachelor's degree in journalism.