Why Outsource? - Game Developing

Many talented folks can be involved in medium to large game projects from the obvious artists and programmers to writers dedicated to dialogue, to motion capture actors, to voice-over directors, to quality assurance leads. Artists and programmers perform the bulk of the labor on a game project, with these other specialized tasks occurring for relatively short blocks of time in midproduction.

Layers of game production games are software with toppings.

Layers of game production games are software with toppings.

As can be seen readily in this diagram, a single game project team requires full-time work from the artists, programmers, design, and management; however, the audio, dialogue, voiceover, motion capture, and other specialized tasks do not occur as a steady task across the whole project. This means that to be efficient in the employment of these folks with specialized game development talents, we need to either be a large development house with many game projects in simultaneous production, or we need to outsource this work to third-party vendors who will execute these production tasks under our direction. Otherwise, audio and other specialists who cannot be gainfully employed across the duration of a single project would cause a financial burden on our projects.

Most game developers would much prefer to have generous budgets in order to hire in-house all of these experts and be able to work more closely with them to achieve the highest level of quality possible. There are a couple of problems with this approach: First of all you are burning prodigious cash whenever you cannot task them directly to your game project; when they are independent contractors you only pay for the work you need to get done. Second, it is difficult to find excellent people to fill these positions. The higher the quality you are looking for, the more likely the individuals would have risen to a key position at another developer or third-party production house or may even be the owners of their own production house. In short, it will take your organization a long time to build up the financial strength to employ multiple teams and find and retain excellent people for the non-core tasks.

Almost all organizations outsource to some degree; most publishers outsource game development to developers, and even those that internally produce their own titles outsource a multitude of tasks such as disk manufacturing and payroll management.


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