How to Unlock the Power of Outsourcing in Game Development 

In game development, where innovation and efficiency are paramount, strategic decision-making can mean the difference between success and mediocrity. While building an in-house team has its advantages, there are specific scenarios where outsourcing tasks to external freelancers can offer significant benefits.  

Our Studio Director, Max Louis, spoke at Game Dev London Expo back in March about how to leverage employees, freelancers, and outsourcing studios. For those of you who prefer written content, let’s explore the benefits of hiring freelance talent & outsourcing studios in game development to help increase not only the output but also the quality of your game visuals.  

The first step is to determine what you need and how often are you going to need it. If you’re looking for a deliverable, you’ll likely find it more cost-effective to outsource to either a studio or a freelancer. A deliverable could be a character model or a trailer for example.  

If you regularly need deliverables from the same skillset over a longer period, you’ll be better off going with a long-term hire. A hired artist is much more likely to get into the nitty gritty of your game than a freelancer or outsourcing studio.   

When To Outsource Rather Than Hire  

While there are instances when hiring a person as part of an In-House team may be more suitable, there are also situations where outsourcing tasks can offer significant advantages:  

  • Specialized Expertise: When a project requires highly specialized skills or knowledge that is not readily available within the existing team, outsourcing to freelancers or a studio with specific expertise can be the ideal solution. Outsourcing allows game developers to access top-tier talent in niche areas.  
  • Short-Term Projects or Peaks in Workload: Game development often involves fluctuating workloads, with certain phases requiring additional resources. In such cases, outsourcing specific tasks or projects can help manage temporary spikes in workload efficiently. Rather than hiring full-time employees for short-term needs or , freelancers and studios can be engaged for the duration of the project, ensuring optimal resource allocation.  
  • 💡Gain Access to Fresh Perspectives and Ideas: Contrary to the misconception that freelance work hinders collaboration, the freelance model in particular fosters collaboration in game development. Outsourcing tasks to freelancers & studios can bring in fresh perspectives and ideas from outside the core team. They often work with multiple clients across various projects and skills, gaining diverse experiences and insights. This exposure can spark innovation and lead to the infusion of unique elements into game development projects, enhancing creativity and player engagement.  
  • Quick Turnaround and Scalability: In situations where speed is of the essence or where scalability is crucial, outsourcing provides a distinct advantage. Freelancers & studios are typically accustomed to working on tight deadlines and can quickly adapt to project requirements. Studios are able to scale up or down as needed to enable game developers to be agile and responsive to project demands and peaks in workload.  
  • 💰Cost-Effective Solutions: Budget constraints are a reality for many game development studios, especially smaller indie studios. Employing In-House teams for every aspect of game development can be financially burdensome. Outsourcing deliverables provide a cost-effective alternative, developers can save on recruitment costs, employee benefits, and overhead expenses. By leveraging outsourcing strategically, game developers can allocate their budget more efficiently, investing in areas that directly impact game quality.  

When To Hire A Person Rather Than Outsource:   

While freelance talent offers numerous advantages, there are situations when hiring a person as part of an in-house team may be more suitable. When game development requires ongoing and continuous collaboration, such as in the case of complex gameplay systems or core engine development, having dedicated team members who can work together closely can lead to better synergy and efficiency. Additionally, when a project requires long-term support, maintenance, and updates, having In-House staff who are familiar with the game’s codebase and background can be beneficial for consistency and timely responses.  

If you’re looking for an art studio to collaborate with, get in touch. We combine all the perks of working with freelance artists with the benefits of an outsourcing studio. Our game artists collaborate directly with game developers within a dedicated discord channel on the MLC server, supported by one of our fantastic producers. 

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