Is game outsourcing the new Hollywood model?

The rise of game outsourcing and the debate about unions all balance on issues of quality of life for developers and the time we need to develop games.  Check out the latest articles on outsourcing and see where you stand on the debate.

Not Everyone Feels The Crunch

Several companies have taken steps to avoid crunch altogether, pointing out it’s a management issue more than a time issue and emphasizing a culture of getting work done rather than play.  Would outsourcing save crunch companies?  No — bad management can happen anywhere — even when outsourcing.

Babel’s Leinfellner, Williams Talk The Rise Of Outsourcing

This article explores the idea that outsourcing will allow quality episodic content in games, just like Hollywood’s outsourcing has.  However, an anonymous comment points out that outsourcing helps with scale, but it doesn’t necessarily yield skilled help.

Monkey Island‘s Gilbert: Industry Must Unionize To Move Forward

Another vote for the Hollywood model.  Gilbert thinks you won’t be able to grab freelancers floating around with nothing in between jobs, although he doesn’t address the trend of outsourcing companies that support their talent in between gigs.  Of course, not all outsourcers work that way – such as writers (present company excepted) and composers.  The biggest issue with unions — they don’t make it any easier to get jobs.

Ultizen’s Lan Haiwen Discusses the Latest Gaming Industry Developments

But wait, everyone’s doing it!  Ultizen develops its own games, but also provides outsourcing work.  Will this trend mean no need for unions?

An Examination of Outsourcing: The Developer Angle

Developers turn to outsourcing so they won’t have to fire 75 people after every game project is finished. However, the debate about outsourcing, offshoring, and unions continues on unabated in the comments section of this article.

The Hidden Costs of Offshore Outsourcing

So what about offshoring?  Think sending work to India or China is cheaper?  This article plays on the idea that you may end up spending just as much whether domestic or offshore.  However, if you’re outsourcing writing to India, well, good luck with that.

An Examination of Outsourcing Part 2: The Contractor Angle

Maybe, outsourcing ultimately is about quality of life for the developers on staff.  “Developers who outsource are doing it to get more on the screen, to spend money appropriately to make the game the best they can possibly make it, and to take some of the pressure off of their core team’s functionality.”

Ease Of Development Rules, Outsourcing On Rise

Love it or hate it; it’s here to stay.  Forty percent of game developers will outsource in 2009.  Maybe it’s time for you to consider outsourcing your writing.

What’s your take on game outsourcing?  Does it improve the quality of life of developers?  Or is it a way to reap profits?

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Filed under Game Industry, Outsourcing

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