Our society has been influenced by video games for more than 30 years. Over this entire span, several generations of video games have been created. It sprang from consoles and arcade games, to online-gaming and virtual reality. This explains the large size of the gaming industry which is worth more than $100 Billion and has a growing momentum. The lion’s share of this market (i.e. over 85%) concerns digital games including games played through Smartphones and tablets as well as games for personal computers and specialized consoles. In this context, the gaming industry is constantly developing, testing and deploying new games centered around novel ideas based on their theme, graphics and operation.
The task of game development outsourcing has many similarities to other types of software outsourcing activities. However, it also has its own drivers and challenges. In the following paragraphs, we shed light to the rationale behind outsourcing game development while at the same time outlining relevant challenges and success factors.
Offshore game development is primarily driven by cost factors. For over two decades, developers and software firms in Asia (e.g., India and China) have delivered high quality software development services at a very competitive cost which is way cheaper than the cost of the respective activities in USA, Europe and Australia. In recent years, we are also witnessing the emergence of competent developers in African countries who are in several cases delivering at even lower prices. As a rule of thumb, outsourcing reduces development costs by at least 50-60%.
Globalization facilitates cost-driven outsourcing by making it extremely easy for enterprises to access development resources all around the globe. It also facilitates access to world-wide talent through broadening the spectrum of available resources. This is particularly important for the gaming industry given the diversity of skills needed for successful game development including UX design, graphics, software development, ergonomics, animation and database skills.
The cost factor is by far the main driver for games outsourcing. However, there are also other secondary reasons that lead game vendors to offshore some of the development activities, including:
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Seizing the benefits of outsourcing is always a difficult task. Here is a list of outsourcing challenges and solutions you should be aware of:
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Experience has shown that the benefits of game development outsourcing outweigh the risks. The risks are greatly reduced when experienced firms with full cycle game development capabilities are used. Outsourcing improves the competitiveness of game vendors and is therefore likely to remain as one of the main trends of the game industry in the near future. Companies should leverage outsourcing opportunities through proper management procedures. At the strategic level, they should also consider outsourcing auxiliary tasks which will enable them to remain focused on their core strengths. We hope that the guidelines would help you when you think about outsourcing game development tasks in the future!
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