Globalization and Outsourcing of Video Game Production

06Nov11

A key trend mentioned in both Media Work and Managing Media Work is the globalization of video game production throughout the industry with a heavy emphasis on outsourcing. This feature from Gamasutra focuses on how one of the largest Chinese outsourcing companies, Virtuos, manages their workers in this global context of video game production. In this interview, CEO Gilles Langourieux provides interesting insight into where they fit in to the global production of video games, the management structure of the company, and how they recruit and train new employees.

Virtuos is structured similarly to a traditional production company with different departments and project teams located within each. Additionally, they structured their company around the idea of increasing the scale of their employees with various skills while concentrating each skillset into creative teams that work together to specialize and produce similar content: “…we have 60 artists who do only characters, we have 100 artists who work only on environment, and we have 30 artists who produce only vehicles. And within those categories, we even have different leads who have different styles attached to them,” (Nutt, 2011). An issue that arises from this is that workers become highly specialized in one area resulting in the production of the same content repeatedly, which may be creatively unsatisfying for video game developers. However, the change in company structure the industry is facing is occurring mostly among Western studios, which are keeping “internal teams on the concept and the development of new IPs, but [outsourcing] most of the production to other countries, especially in China,” (Nutt, 2011). Another defining characteristic of Virtuos is that they do not focus on producing new IP content for themselves but rather on developing content based on their client’s need (and their clients typically own the IP and licensing).

Another issue mentioned in Ch. 20 of MMW was the difficulty video game production companies face in recruiting talented artists and coders that meet their specific needs. The solution that many companies undertake, including Virtuos, is to open their own training school to teach employees how to work on real examples of video game production. Langourieux states, “Because the skills they have coming right out of school are not always enough to quickly get into production, so we have them come in, spend three months to be trained on actual, real life cases of increasing difficulty. And after those three months, we select the ones who meet the production criteria before hiring them for good,” (Nutt, 2011).

-Chris G

Nutt, C. (2011, April 4). Virtuos: Setting The Record Straight On Outsourcing. Gamasutra. Retrieved November 6, 2011, from http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/6326/virtuos_setting_the_record_.php

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  1. 1 Globalization and Outsourcing of Video Game Production « Media … « Outsourcing Yes

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