Game development outsourcing
Game development outsourcing can assist in game production challenges, provide specialized programming expertise, and deliver high-quality art assets . . . and that’s a major advantage for studios. Indeed, with a carefully chosen, expert outsourced team in place, any studio can get out of the lobby and into the match at a speed-run pace.
While many global industries were forced to pause their activities in 2020, gaming experienced unprecedented growth: According to Nielsen, 55 percent of US consumers were playing video games at the height of lockdown, and game earnings doubled.
The gaming industry’s mainstream potential was never a secret. Games are, by far, the most lucrative vertical within the entertainment industry, with nearly twice the global revenue of movies plus series combined and a whopping fourfold edge on music. What’s more, the industry is poised to keep growing at a steady pace for the foreseeable future, with some projections at a healthy 13.4 percent CAGR in the US between 2023 and 2030. Meanwhile, the online gaming market is expected to reach 1.2B users worldwide by 2027. That’s one in every seven people on the planet.
That’s all great news, but it also means that all that extra demand puts pressure on traditional game development studios, many of which chronically struggle with excessive crunch. On top of it, big companies operating games as a service (GaaS), like the ultra-popular Fortnite and League of Legends, must also constantly innovate and release regular updates to their titles that keep players coming back for more.
To secure and increase revenue, then, small indie developers and AAA gaming studios alike routinely rely on expert game development outsourcing firms for the artistic and engineering talent they need to keep their production lines moving — and eliminate some of the most common game development headaches, whether that’s with mobile platforms, consoles, or PC.
The benefits of outsourced game development
Studios face challenges at every phase of game design: meeting key deadlines, finding the right talent for their game's engine (a particularly famous conundrum for those choosing between Unity and Unreal for VR), and creating the thousands of game art assets that modern games require.
The gaming industry is notorious for its razor-sharp target dates, even more so for mobile game development. Ambitious producers often over-promise (even to themselves) or accept strict terms from their funding publishers, only to find out that a time-sensitive task is bigger or creeping up faster than they anticipated.
That’s when game dev outsourcing firms come to the rescue: They can provide devs who have the talent and — just as important — agility to swoop in and help a project hit those make-or-break milestones. (And then swoop out, as the case may be.)
Cost-wise, a great in-house team is a valuable asset for any studio. But games require more developers to build them than to maintain them — meaning that a full-time development-level staff may be more than what a studio needs once their game ships. Lean operations hire in-house to match their steady-state engineering needs and augment their core team with outsourced game development professionals when the project demands exceed the in-house team’s bandwidth. The result is a flexible staff of full-timers and “day-players” who can deliver the goods without blowing budgets.
Outsourcing is sometimes perceived as a luxury that only big-named corporate studios can afford, but under the microscope, newer startups and small companies receive more value from outsourcing support than the big players. By eliminating the HR/onboarding processes that a new in-house hire requires, businesses of any size can save time and effort — both precious commodities, especially for first-timers and small-scale studios.
Enhanced flexibility and speed
- Parallel development leading to faster time-to-market
- Ability to adapt and scale the outsourced team quickly
- Focus on core competencies while external teams handle technical aspects
- Flexible budgeting based on project needs and financial resources
- No upfront investment in infrastructure required
- Reduced labor costs through global talent acquisition
Expanded access to expertise
- Access to specialized skills in various game development domains
- Utilization of the latest tools and technologies in the gaming industry
- Ability to tap into domain-specific knowledge for innovative games
Expertise and skills
Not every game development outsourcing company is capable of undertaking every and all types of projects. But the truly excellent ones will count upon the right resources to develop quality products regardless of platform, engine, or technology involved.
Here are the most crucial aspects of game development that a company must master before being entrusted with major projects:
Mobile game development
A category on their own, mobile games boast half of the gaming industry’s total revenue. To excel in mobile game development, a team should possess a deep understanding of mobile platforms like iOS and Android. They need expertise in mobile game development engines like Unity or Unreal, and should excel in designing mobile-specific UI and UX, ensuring games are optimized for various device performances and capacities.
PC game development
As hardly any two computers specs are made equal, PC game development requires a strong grasp of PC hardware and software specifications. Beyond Unity and Unreal, your team should be well-versed in multiple game engines and know-how to properly customize them if needed. They must develop games that run smoothly on Windows (and often, also MacOS and Linux), taking into account mouse and keyboard input methods when designing their intuitive user interfaces.
Console game development
Creating games for consoles necessitates expertise in console-specific development kits and hardware. Your team should be familiar with the unique development environments of console manufacturers, such as Sony, Microsoft, or Nintendo. Each console-maker abides by very specific rules, making adherence to their guidelines and regulations essential, along with optimizing game performance for specific console hardware and controllers.
Your game design team needs expertise in game mechanics and gameplay design to ensure that the gameplay is captivating, balanced, and properly integrated with monetization models if those are present. Level design skills are crucial, along with the ability to create a seamless user experience and visually appealing user interfaces. If the title is narrative-driven, it will also require strong creative storytelling skills from your game design team.
AI and machine learning implementation
Artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms can be used in games either to create AI-driven character behavior (for adaptive and dynamic gameplay experiences) or to streamline design and development creation processes themselves. Additionally, expertise in data analysis and player behavior tracking is essential to continuously improve the game's AI-driven features.
Blockchain in game development
Gamedev teams need deep knowledge of blockchain tech fundamentals to develop blockchain-based in-game assets and economies, integrating blockchain for item ownership and trading. Be it Web3, metaverse-ready, or NFT-including games, security and smart contract development are vital to ensure the integrity of blockchain-powered game systems.
AR/VR game development
In extended reality (XR), the umbrella term for augmented and virtual reality, your team’s proficiency should include platforms like Oculus and HoloLens. They need to develop immersive experiences for headsets, incorporating spatial tracking and gesture recognition technology, plus command the 3D modeling and environment creation skills that are essential to bring AR/VR worlds to life.
It’s great to have engine asset stores as a fallback plan, but for game visuals, expertise in 2D and 3D art is crucial. The team should have mastery of graphics software like Maya, Blender, or Photoshop. They need to handle texturing, shading, and rendering, create captivating character designs, and execute flawless animations. Additionally, environmental art is vital for crafting the game's world and settings.
Engagement models that work for you
There are myriad ways to get a game to launch, each with their own challenges. Fortunately, outsourcing game development firms are geared towards providing tiered or tailored game development services to address a client’s specific needs, from small parts of a project to complete outsourcing.
Sometimes, all you need to fire up your game are just a few more specialists — even as few as two or four — fluent in Unreal, Unity, XML, Python, or Lua.
In other projects, co-development is essential when your existing game development team possesses technical expertise but not the experience necessary to both oversee and execute operations on its own.
And depending on the title, it pays off to outsource the game’s full cycle of development, where your team provides the game’s concept, storyboards, and production elements to be fully realized by an externally sourced gamedev crew.
Team augmentation is best when:
- You need a quick team expansion
- You want flexibility in ramping the team up or down at any time
- You require a specialized skill set for uncommon tasks
Co-development is best when:
- Your in-house team is overwhelmed with tasks
- The project is large, long-term, or particularly complex
- Your teams are unable to coordinate both technical and managerial operations
Full-cycle outsourcing is best when:
- Your existing dev teams aren’t experienced with game development
- Budget allocation makes hiring in-house devs unfeasible
- Your game is supplementary to your core business
How to outsource game development to the right partner
Building a game can sometimes seem more fraught with challenges than the game itself. One of the biggest is also one of the most basic: knowing how to choose a qualified video game outsourcing firm.
Make the most of our expertise in the game development process by applying our insight to your projects.
Here are pro tips on finding the right firm:
Probe your options
Start your search by looking at projects that candidate firms have worked on already. A game development company’s past work will indicate what you can expect in terms of quality, and inform your follow-up questions if you choose to interview a representative. For example, well in advance of committing to an engagement, you can ask about strategies to onboard remote engineers.
Vet their work
Ask what specific role(s) the candidate firm played in the development process of past games. For instance, if a game has gorgeous visual assets but bombs everywhere else, you want to know whether the firm was involved in developing the game's majestic artwork or its painful gameplay.
Don’t be shy about discussing the budgets and schedules of the outsourcing company regarding past projects. You don’t need a specific price tag; even a budget range is helpful to know. Also, ask whether there was any difference between the original project delivery date and its eventual release.
Know their contingency plans
Find out if their game development projects served up any unexpected roadblocks, and what the candidate firm did to adjust on the fly. Resolving challenges with a reliable methodology is vital to the game development process, and can give you a sense of whether the firm has the necessary competencies to provide the support that your project needs.
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How we can help
If all of this sounds too daunting to absorb, don’t worry. Game development is certainly a challenging endeavor, and one that virtually never exists without multiple parts moving simultaneously. That’s why we’re here to help with every step of your game development outsourcing requirements, from a single task to all of them.
We can help define the concept of the game:
- We carefully assess what your project needs by formulating a game design document, complete with risk assessments, competitor analysis, and high-quality artwork and graphics
- We are equipped to help with various technology decisions involving game engines, architecture, advanced technologies, and coding languages
We can take on parts of your game development to:
- Develop an MVP with prioritized features
- Quickly provide the required number of engineers and artists to help your team
- Focus on the game design (mechanics, gameplay, level design, graphics, animation, audio, voice artistry, 3D development)
We can take your whole game project for outsourcing:
- Beginning with a discovery phase, we plan extensively to ensure that we understand your goals, budget, and technology needs
- Storyboarding and concept development, prototyping, and production
- With end-to-end service, our team conceptualizes every development element to bring your game to life: game art outsourcing, design, coding, sound, QA, patching updates, recurring maintenance, you name it
Our gamedev tech stack
2D and 3D modeling
- Game developers for hire with decades of experience
- Developers and artists in sync with your needs
- Tailor-made solutions for any gaming platform
Commitment to quality
- In-depth expertise and diverse project experience
- Seamless integration with clients’ workflow
- Transparent communication and reporting
Flexible engagement models
- A wide range of models and game project scopes
- Scale your team up and down as you need
- CVs in 48 hours, kickoff within 2 weeks or less
Our success stories
VerseX Studios: Turning blockchain trading into anyone’s game
We helped this metaverse-focused studio conceptualize their entire Web3 VR gaming platform and narrow down interested players, engineering a complete implementation plan for their minimum viable product (MVP) development.
We designed and developed a custom platform for a software company’s end client and created a Web3 platform and designed avatars and a 3D virtual world with multiple environments.
Our clients say it best
Check out what our partners have to say about our game development services on Clutch.co.
Co-founder, RedKoin Inc.
“Vention helped design and develop a web-based gaming tool. It delivered quality work and was realistic in their estimates. They were professional, and provided valuable insights and extra hours to supplement internal teams. Although there was no language barrier, they could be clearer and simpler in describing bugs and fixes to further build trust.”
“(The) team members provided have integrated seamlessly with our team and worked well. Any issues have been discussed proactively and resolved well. The account management has been great. Proactively seeking out any issues to be addressed, and providing the right people quickly when needed.”
“We needed assistance from a company with expertise in Web3 development projects and 3D design... We were impressed with their initiative to go beyond the minimum scope and deliver a functional project. I was most impressed with Vention´s collaboration and technical skills.”