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Selecting the Ideal Co-Development Partner

Some game development studios may view collaborating with another company as a potential risk. Worries about project control, the desire to keep knowledge and technology internal, or past disappointments can make this method unattractive. Yet, if you work with a trustworthy and suitable partner, these concerns can be put to rest, enabling you to concentrate on developing a solid partnership.
In a collaboration, both parties work closely, utilizing their skills to develop top-quality games. Transparency, effective communication, and accountability are crucial elements in every successful co-development, guaranteeing that all involved parties are in sync and focused on shared objectives.

What is Co Development: The Basics You Need to Know

Video game co development involves a cooperative method where multiple parties work together to share tasks and resources for the game's development. In contrast to traditional development approaches, game co development requires collaboration where partners utilize their strengths and skills to enhance game production, leading to greater innovation and efficiency.
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Source: https://www.dice.com/career-advice/game-developer-career-path-key-things-to-know

This approach is commonly used when intricate, extensive projects demand a range of skills that one company may not have. For instance, one co-developer might be tasked with engineering the game engine while another concentrates on designing detailed character models and environments.
On the other hand, outsourcing is employed by companies that need to assign specific tasks while maintaining oversight over the contractor's work. For example, a game development studio could outsource the development of sound effects and musical scores to a company specializing in video game audio. This enables the studio to concentrate on other central elements of game development while guaranteeing top-notch audio that elevates the gaming experience. Outsourcing is especially appealing when focusing on budget, as hiring outside developers from regions with lower labor costs often makes financial sense.

Kinds of Game Outsourcing

As mentioned before, outsourcing in the gaming industry involves delegating specific tasks or entire projects to external companies. This practice can vary widely depending on the project's needs and the outsourcing partner's capabilities. Studios offer different types of outsourcing services:

  1. Art and Design Outsourcing: This includes everything from creating concept art to complete asset production, such as character models, environments, and animations.
  2. Development Outsourcing: This can range from coding specific game systems to developing entire levels or features of the game.
  3. Quality Assurance Outsourcing: External teams are used to test games for bugs, performance issues, and gameplay imbalances.
  4. Audio Outsourcing: Includes creating sound effects, music scoring, and sometimes even voice acting.

Ultimately, co-development utilizes the individual strengths of each partner to handle the challenges of major projects that may be overwhelming for a sole developer. The collaboration in this team speeds up the progress and enhances the gaming experience by combining different viewpoints and creative ideas.

Why Do Companies Outsource and Co-Develop?

Outsourcing and co-development are strategic approaches in many game development companies' business models. Here, we explore the reasons why companies choose these routes and their respective advantages and drawbacks.

Reasons for Outsourcing

Outsourcing in game development is driven by several compelling reasons:

  1. Cost Savings: Outsourcing helps studios avoid the expenses associated with hiring full-time employees, including salaries, benefits, and infrastructure costs.
  2. Expertise Access: By outsourcing, studios can tap into a vast global talent pool, ensuring that experts handle specialized tasks such as animation, sound design, or programming.
  3. Scalability: It allows companies to scale their operations up or down based on project requirements without the long-term commitment of hiring full-time employees.
  4. Focus on Core Activities: By outsourcing non-core functions, studios can concentrate on their main strengths and strategic goals.
  5. Time Efficiency: Outsourcing can speed up the development process.
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Source: https://www.inc.com/jeff-barrett/every-entrepreneur-should-use-outsourcing-just-like-their-huge-competitors-here-are-3-ways-to-do-it.html

Reasons for Not Outsourcing

Despite its benefits, outsourcing also comes with challenges:

  1. Risk of Miscommunication: When outsourcing, differences in language, culture, and remote communication can lead to misunderstandings. These miscommunications can result in costly errors and delays in the project timeline.
  2. Maintaining Quality and Consistency: Ensuring that outsourced work aligns with in-house quality standards is challenging. Differences in tools and techniques can cause inconsistencies, ultimately affecting the game's overall quality.
  3. Security and Confidentiality Issues: Outsourcing involves sharing proprietary information and sensitive data with third parties. This increases the risk of intellectual property theft and data breaches, which can have serious repercussions.

Co-Development: Pros and Cons in Game Development

While co-development shares some similarities with outsourcing, it involves a deeper level of collaboration in partnerships. It fosters an environment where partner studios work closely together, enhancing creativity and elevating the quality of game development.

Development partners work together to make decisions and address challenges as a team. This integrated method ensures effective coordination of game elements and improves the overall quality of the end product.

In co-development, all partners share the risks of developing new and complex games. This decreases the financial strain on a single company and lessens the impact of possible hurdles such as technical issues, market shifts, or project delays. If a game is developed using new technology or distinct gameplay features, there is a significant risk of failure or unexpected technical issues occurring. By pooling these risks, companies can take the opportunity to test out new ideas with less risk for each individual involved.

Co-development optimizes resource utilization by integrating the strengths and expertise of both partners, resulting in more economical and streamlined production processes. One studio may specialize in cutting-edge rendering technology, while another could stand out in narrative design. By working together, these studios can concentrate on what they do best, which improves efficiency and minimizes unnecessary repetition.

Participating in extended co-development projects can strengthen business connections and cultivate an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect, setting the stage for future partnerships. These collaborations could result in mutual learning and knowledge exchange, ultimately enhancing the abilities of all parties involved.

When co-development involves several studios, it is essential to manage inherent risks efficiently. An important obstacle is the precise assignment of tasks. A lack of clear and agreed-upon roles can confuse, resulting in duplicated efforts and missed deadlines. As each studio typically follows its methods and priorities, it is crucial to clearly define the roles and responsibilities for different project components to avoid duplication of work and production gaps.

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Source: https://www.aurochdigital.com/blog/2021/1/13/how-to-make-your-first-video-game

Divided ownership in collaborative development can lead to complex scenarios, where partners may argue over ownership of the final product and the division of profits. This scenario frequently necessitates:

  • meticulous legal organization;
  • explicit development agreements outlining ownership shares, duties, and revenue distribution pre-project to prevent future disagreements.

Businesses contemplating collaborative development must carefully evaluate the advantages and disadvantages, ensuring strong agreements and effective communication methods are established to reduce risks and take advantage of the benefits collaborative development provides. This well-rounded method will be essential for attaining success and stimulating innovation in the competitive field of game development.

How to Choose the Right Co-Development Partner

Choosing the right development partner is critical for the success of your project, particularly in the complex landscape of game development. Here are a few essential factors to help you choose:

  1. Aligning Goals and Vision: Your application development partner must comprehend and align with your project’s goals and long-term objectives.
  2. Communication and Collaboration: Look for a partner who values open dialogue and has established robust communication channels. This includes regular updates and using collaborative tools to keep all stakeholders informed and engaged throughout the development process​.
  3. Technical Expertise and Experience: Assess possible partners' technical skills and industry background. Selecting a partner with a successful history in the exact development areas your project needs is crucial. This may involve expertise in gaming graphics, AI, or user interface design.
  4. Cultural Fit: The degree of cultural match between your team and the potential partner can greatly impact the project's dynamics.
  5. Problem-Solving and Innovation: Seek a partner who complies with your guidelines and engages in finding solutions and generating new ideas. A good partner will offer constructive challenges to your ideas and share their innovative solutions, enhancing the project's quality and level of creativity.
  6. Scalability and Flexibility: Consider your project's future needs and choose a partner who can scale its services as it grows and changes.
  7. Quality Assurance and Testing: Ensure your potential partner has strong quality assurance and testing systems. These methods are essential to reduce bugs and guarantee that the result meets the top-notch standards anticipated in the gaming sector.

By concentrating on these important areas, you can choose a co-development partner that fulfills the technical needs of your project and adds value to the cooperative atmosphere crucial for a successful co development partnership.

Argentics exemplifies these qualities, making us an ideal choice for your co-development needs. With Argentics as your partner, you can be confident in creating innovative, high-quality games that stand out in the competitive gaming industry. Connect with Argentics now and start your successful game development project!
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