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Tips to choose the right gaming outsourcing partner

Outsourcing can be applied to any part of your production, from a concrete step or task to a full development cycle. To choose the right gaming outsourcing partner is a complex responsibility as they must be supportive and aligned with your development. But also you must make sure your partner has all competences you need to apply to your game. Tasks, technologies, platforms or genres may vary. So, how can you be sure you’re partnering with the right one?

Once you decide to include outsourcing services on your game development, the next question must be how to choose the right gaming outsourcing partner. Every game has specific needs and there are many outsourcing companies with different expertise. Finding the right one will be crucial for your confidence, teamwork and feedback delivery. 

Define your scope

Your scope must be aligned with the company expertise. This is due to the fact that many outsourcing companies are focused on a specific production field (such as UX, art, music, programing, testing…), technology or even game genre. Define which are the points you need to be assisted.

Settle expectations is the most important thing. The outsourcing partner will understand if they are expert enough in that field to successfully accomplish your demand. That way, you will be able to focus on other tasks while your gaming outsourcing partner is covering theirs.

In the same vein, this conversation about expectations will drive you to the investment cost. To choose the right gaming outsourcing partner you also must be aware of how much you can invest. 

Image showing a workflow definition on a white board. It's important to now your needs to choose the right gaming outsourcing partner.
Think on your scope to choose the right gaming outsourcing company

Do they have time for you?

Proper communication and time for your project are more important than experience. If you are working with an outsourcing company where your project is not one of the most important, maybe the time they can give you is not enough. If the amount of time they can invest on your project is little, feedback processes may be tedious and sketchy.

Additionally to your expectations you must establish a work flow. How will the checkpoints be? How many times a week you will meet to check progress? When do you need it done? Your gaming outsourcing partner must have the big picture of the project so that they can understand priorities. So, the most important question is: Do you have time to pay the required attention to our project?

Referrals and samples are important but not an inflexion point

This point is a little tricky. The main part of clients ask for confidentiality to their outsourcing partners. That’s why you will not be able to see many samples. However you may be asked to sign a DNA and that way you will have access to some projects. But, Is this a real sample of what they can do? No, it isn’t.

Don’t base your opinion on samples from other projects as you don’t know conditions, expectations and investment from other companies. Your needs and scope will be as unique as other client’s needs. A past work is not an authentic exhibition of ability as it will be shaped to other’s demands. 

So, there is a more important question than referrals or samples: how much experience you have on technology, game genres, platforms, mechanics, VFX etc. or any similar task which will be required for your project. The most important check about past tasks is the amount of tasks with the same needs as yours. Then, how do we know if they can meet your needs?

Ask for a proposal to check if they are the right gaming outsourcing partner

This is the real point to evaluate your relationship and results delivery.

The gaming outsourcing companies you are evaluating will be assisting you and providing solutions. Check the kind of solutions they will provide by asking them a proposal. After the first meeting you will have a first communication approach. First impressions are important but how they react to your needs is still more important.

After your first meeting, explanation about the big picture and exchange of expectations and budget, give them time to deliver the first task (a proposal). It’s now their responsibility to do their best, solve this first collaboration task and then, you will check the result. If you don’t know how to ask for a business proposal, there are many pages with samples depending on your goal

There are many more questions to have in mind. This will depend on your scope and length of your partnership. Asking industry partners about their experience with different gaming outsourcing partners will help you to choose the right one. For that reason is that important attending to game fairs and network with other developers and studios. If you have more questions or pieces of advices, please contact us or leave us a comment.

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