Outsourcing the Video Game Industry


…in a process familiar from other parts of the economy, outside of the cultural sectors, many larger firms now contract out elements of production to decentralised networks either of smaller firms or of individuals. In some cases, this means that, for example, media organisations outsource more of the creative work of cultural production to the ‘independents’ and concentrate on the core functions of financial operation, distribution and commissioning. (Oakley, 2009)

Like in many creative industries, video game developers are no strangers to outsourcing. When discussing such practices, however, one must first consider whether or not one can outsource a process. While this is certainly true of a lot of industries, what makes creative industries industry is that outsourcing is “more dependent on skills and capability than size of the labor pool” (Ravago, 2009). As a result, there is no one particular area which is predominantly drawn from:

The Philippines and India for example, have the available skilled labor pool (from their existing Animation Outsourcing industries) that can be utilized in Game Development processes such as storyboard creation, character modeling, and artwork development. Eastern Europe would be better suited for more complex processes in the development cycle such as cinematic walkthrough and motion capture. (Ravago, 2009).

Unfortunately, while many developers would love to draw entirely from within their company (as it ensures cohesiveness and responsiveness), the ups and downs of the economy ultimately determines whether a company will keep a team on-staff for a particular job. This leads to a rather large number of video game designers, writers, animators, etc. who must free-lance and benefit from very little job security.




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