The Advantages and Challenges of Outsourcing Game Development

If you’ve played a modern AAA video game recently, odds are it wasn’t the product of a single team in a single studio. While the days of garage game designers are by no means over, when it comes to the heavy-hitting, million-copies-selling series, like Assassins Creed, Madden, or FIFA, they were most likely created by many remote teams working together. In this blog, we’re going to discuss why the demands of modern, big-budget games have necessitated big game studios to outsource certain aspects of their titles’ development.

outsourcing game development - art assets creation

High Fidelity Gaming
With every successive console generation, manufacturers like Sony and Microsoft are pushed to increase the visual fidelity and graphical capabilities of their respective machines. Resolutions are increased, on-screen polygon counts are upped, and post-processing capabilities are added. The result is a line of machines that can deliver rich graphical experiences at silky smooth frame rates. But there is a cost associated with this increase in graphical horsepower.

Art assets, like character models, textures, and UI elements must increase in quality as well in order to utilize a system’s full potential And as if that weren’t enough, open-world games that depend on a large variety of environments demand many assets be created in order to build an immersive world that players won’t tire of. Nothing kills immersion more than running into the same NPC on the street two or three times in a row or seeing the same storefront in three or four locations across a single city.

Games that are targeting the latest hardware are required to hire veritable armies of texture artists, animators, riggers, UI/UX designers, and environmental artists to ship their games. Thousands of person-hours go into creating convincing world environments, hypercar models, and entire rosters of fighting game characters. It is under these circumstances that game developers are faced with the question of whether or not they will outsource these tasks.

forza horizon 4 game creation

The Challenges
There are several main challenges when dealing with outside contractors to develop a game. First and foremost is communicating remotely. Especially when a time when many mobile game developers are spread across the globe, communicating across time zones can be a daunting challenge. However, tools like Slack, Google Suite, and Dropbox help break down barriers to collaboration.

The Advantages
The reward for coordinating remotely with external teams and maintaining consistent style guides is unmatched asset creation capabilities and the ability to quite literally build entire digital worlds. Working with dedicated external teams grants game studios unmatched bandwidth and throughput to create content for their titles. Under the leadership of a strong team of producers, external game developers can help develop and ship games that otherwise wouldn’t be possible with a single studio.

soccer game development

Another fairly obvious benefit is that external studios work on a project-to-project basis. This means that studios don’t have to go through the process of hiring temporary employees to finish especially grueling periods of crunch, or in order to hit specific project milestones. This, in turn, puts less stress on a company’s HR department and the logistics of accommodating an influx of new employees.

If you’re a game studio looking to work with a veteran of game developers, considering getting in touch with one of our account executives. Our portfolio of mobile game projects, art asset creation, and broader development capabilities has made us a favorite of established game developers, startups, and entrepreneurs alike. Find out why Zco is considered one of the most reliable mobile game developers for hire in the industry.