While the benefits of outsourcing are indisputable, especially in these remote times, the outsourcing experience often depends on the right choice of a vendor.
In this article, we want to share a few simple yet effective ways of choosing the right partner among a myriad of game development outsourcing companies. We will talk about how to choose the outsourcing destination, what to look at when studying vendors’ portfolios and testimonials, and how their scope of services and employer brands can influence further cooperation. Those tips will help you find an experienced vendor who you can rely on for years to come.
Decide on the Best Outsourcing Destination
The first thing to do when looking for a game outsourcing partner is to choose the exact country to outsource from. Primarily, it will narrow your search results, allowing you to find more experienced and reliable vendors, instead of those who invested in advertising the most. Secondly, deciding on a particular outsourcing destination will influence a whole bunch of things including budget, future cooperation prospects, communication quality, cultural and time-zone aspects, business travels, and so on.
For instance, if you are developing an MMO based in a Medieval Europe setting, then outsourcing to Asian countries might be challenging. Apart from a huge cultural gap, most eastern game development outsourcing companies have a totally different understanding of what constitutes an MMO compared to westerners. These include gameplay mechanics (like grinding), in-game store, visual style, and gaming community preferences.
Similarly, the location of outsourcing plays a decisive factor when planning your budget since annual salaries vary drastically across countries:
Why Outsourcing to Ukraine?
Ukraine is a treasure trove of talented game developers and is one of the world’s top IT and outsourcing destinations. Chances are high that in this way or another you have stumbled upon S.T.A.L.K.E.R., Warface, World of Tanks, Cossacks, or Metro, the games that were developed in Ukraine.
As of 2021, the country has around 200,000 tech specialists and 3000+ IT companies. The game development sector has been gaining momentum in the past few years and now is actively integrating into the education system. We know it first-hand since N-iX Game & VR Studio participates in education programs, teaching Unreal Engine development to students of Lviv Polytechnic National University.
Apart from a large and growing talent pool and reasonable rates, as a game development outsourcing destination, Ukraine offers a transparent taxes policy, English-speaking specialists with a western mentality, convenient geographical location, and favorable business infrastructure.
Ubisoft, Paradox Interactive, CD Project Red, Activision, Capcom, Wargaming, and many other prominent game publishers are already outsourcing game development to Ukraine.
What to Look at When Looking for a Partner
Here we will try to share our insights of how to spot the ideal candidate based on our years-long experience in the industry:
Carefully Study Their Portfolio
Usually one starts selecting candidates from visiting their websites, scrolling down home pages, and checking out what game titles they have been working on. In most cases, the most eminent projects are conveniently displayed at the top of a page. Our advice here is that you should not fall for eye-catching titles. Instead, try digging deeper to know what exactly was their contribution to those projects that they show off.
Imagine you found a vendor that worked on Assassin's Creed Valhalla, and further investigation shows that they did several 2D illustrations for the game. Why should this fact influence your opinion of their competence if what you are looking for is a company with skilled unity developers? Your candidate is likely someone who fixed bugs or developed features for Hearthstone or other games based on the Unity engine.
The sections with detailed descriptions are usually called Case Studies, Portfolio, or Projects. Apply filters to select projects that are relevant to what you might need, be it VR, Unreal Engine/Unity development, art production, etc., and study them to find out whether the candidate possesses the necessary expertise.
Sometimes game development outsourcers do not provide detailed descriptions of their projects and only leave you with a game’s banner. There might be several reasons for that:
- They cannot display their contribution due to NDA.
- The contribution was too insignificant to form a decent case study.
- The game/DLC is not yet released, thus the work cannot be disclosed.
- In rare cases - dishonesty.
In any case, none of these explanations provide you with facts to rely on when choosing to trust this particular vendor.
In turn, it is always a good sign if a company provides an in-depth description of projects and their contribution. Those details can provide you with an understanding of how they organize work processes, undertake challenges, and deliver results to clients, thus allowing you to form expectations for further cooperation.
Double-check Clients’ Testimonials
Whenever buying a product or opting for one’s services, reading reviews of previous customers is one of the best ways to understand what to expect. Most trusted and experienced game development outsourcing companies display clients’ testimonials right on the home page. Although they include only positive feedback there, you can still retrieve something useful from it. For instance, is it just dry information about the cooperation or genuine expression of a person who made the right choice and is excited to tell about it? Also, note which qualities are praised the most in the reviews and think whether those are the characteristics of a vendor you have been looking for.
Most importantly, it is often a good sign when those attention-grabbing game projects at the top of a home page are backed up with the clients’ testimonials below. For example, if a company shows that they have worked on Far Cry 6, there should also be feedback from one of Ubisoft’s representatives indicating whether this work was satisfactory.
Make sure to also check vendor’s reviews on such platforms as Clutch or GoodFirms. Some game developers have profiles on Clutch or GoodFirms, where you may find some useful information regarding their previous projects. Also, take a closer look at their social media accounts like LinkedIn or Facebook. It will show you how they communicate with the public and whether published news corresponds to the information they display on their website.
Consider their Scope of Services
Imagine you are looking for a reliable vendor to create illustrations for your project. You found one, they did an excellent job, and the communication between the teams was beyond all expectations. You liked everything about them and want to continue the partnership, but now you need 3D models or to animate the 2D art they made for you. However, this company only specializes in 2D art production, meaning that now you have to renew your searches in pursuit of finding another reliable outsourcer.
That is why it is important to predict not only the growth of your project but also the growth of your partnership with a vendor in case you find a really good one. That is, if you plan to outsource art production, find a partner with a broad array of art outsourcing services. Here is an article about 15 top game art providers that will help you in this pursuit.
Evaluate Employer Brand
As the scope of your project and the vendor’s involvement in it grows, so does the need to expand teams and hire narrowly focused specialists. Thus, it is a great advantage if your partner has a decent employer reputation and can involve an experienced recruitment team to find missing talents in no time. Once you find a game outsourcer partner with a recognized company and employer brand, you can breathe easy knowing that you are always backed up.
Each year, Forbes publishes a rating of top employers where you might find decent game development outsourcing companies.
Why choose N-iX Game and VR Studio As Your Trusted Partner
- N-iX Game and VR Studio is a part of a bigger organization with 2,000 software engineers, 20 years’ market presence, and a renowned employer brand.
- Our studio offers a broad array of game development outsourcing services, and we can cover your back whatever else you might need, including AWS and VR services, full-cycle development, Unreal/Unity development, art production, etc.
- N-iX Game and VR Studio is a reliable partner with high client satisfaction and return rates, and the success stories below serve as testimony to that.
Here are some examples of N-iX Game & VR Studio’s years-long cooperation with eminent game publishers:
- Cooperation: 2017-present time
Paradox Interactive is a video game publisher based in Stockholm, Sweden. They are the ultimate crafters of grand strategy video games, whose products are recognized by critics and the gaming community.
N-iX Game & VR Studio’s successful partnership with Paradox Interactive started in 2017, and since then we’ve been delivering exceptional art for their masterpieces of the strategy game genre. Over these years, our team has contributed to the following projects: Stellaris, Crusader Kings III, Hearts of Iron IV, Imperator: Rome, Europa Universalis IV, and the most recent one, Victoria 3.
We are proud to be a long-term partner of Paradox Interactive and honored to work on such high-quality games.
- Cooperation: 2018-present time
Tempo Storm is a leading live-stream, content production, and professional gaming entertainment brand that unites 50+ professional gamers fielded in the world’s top competitive games.
Tempo Storm entrusted N-iX Game & VR Studio to develop their very own digital-first strategy game, the Bazaar. The Bazaar is a digital strategy game set up in an intergalactic marketplace, where players can confront and take down their opponents in a game of wits. This is a full-cycle development, where N-iX Game & VR Studio delivers game art production, game design, UI/UX design, programming, and AWS implementation.
Words aside, here is what Tempo Storm’s owner and founder Andrey “Reynad” Yanyuk himself comments on our cooperation:
Cooperation: 2018-present time
Wargaming is a Belarusian game publisher and one of the leaders in the free-to-play MMO market. They are known for such games as World of Tanks, World of Warships, World of Tanks Blitz, etc.
N-iX Game & VR Studio teamed up with Wargaming in 2018, and since then our team has been delivering stellar 2D and 3D art for World of Tanks, paying scrupulous attention to historical and engineering accuracy.