Mobile Games

Outsourcing 101: The Ultimate Guide to Scaling Your Game Studio

Written by
David Molnar
October 5, 2023
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If you've ever wondered about the secret sauce that helps industry leaders stay ahead of the curve, it's time to explore the intricacies of outsourcing. Outsourcing is a strategic business practice that involves contracting out certain tasks or functions to external parties. By doing so, companies can tap into specialized expertise, access a larger talent pool, and reduce costs.

In the ever-evolving realm of game development, the industry titans often cloak their processes in a veil of mystery, leaving the outside world curious about their inner workings.

How do they consistently produce blockbuster titles, one after another?

How do they expertly manage vast portfolios without faltering?

How do they maintain a laser focus on their core strengths?

These titans of the industry appear to have an unbroken chain of successful games. So, what's the elusive formula that fuels their remarkable consistency?

The answer lies in a single, transformative strategy: Outsourcing.

The Outsourcing Enigma: Why Bigger Studios Rely on It

If you've ever wondered about the secret sauce that helps industry leaders stay ahead of the curve, it's time to explore the intricacies of outsourcing. Outsourcing is a strategic business practice that involves contracting out certain tasks or functions to external parties. By doing so, companies can tap into specialized expertise, access a larger talent pool, and reduce costs.

Additionally, outsourcing enables organizations to focus on their core competencies and allocate resources more effectively. It provides flexibility, scalability, and the ability to adapt quickly to changing business needs. So, if you're looking to unlock new opportunities and optimize your operations, diving deeper into the world of outsourcing is definitely worth your while.

Let’s break down some of the abilities that outsourcing can give studios:

Scalability on Demand:

One of the most unpredictable aspects of the gaming industry is player demand. A sudden viral marketing success or a breakthrough hit can strain in-house resources. Outsourcing offers the nimbleness to rapidly scale up or down based on immediate game development needs.

Global Talent Pool:

Game development is a global endeavor. Exceptional talent isn't confined to one geography. Studios may be stationed in North America, but there could be a team in Eastern Europe or Southeast Asia that's a perfect fit for a particular project. Outsourcing eliminates geographical constraints.

Cost Efficiency and Flexibility:

Having a permanent in-house team, especially during downtimes or between projects, can impose a significant financial burden. However, outsourcing can convert these fixed costs into variable ones, providing greater fiscal control and flexibility.

Focus on Core Strengths:

Even the most accomplished studios have areas of specialization. By outsourcing niche tasks, studios can ensure they receive expert attention while their in-house team remains focused on their core strengths.


For the gaming industry, outsourcing offers scalability on demand, access to a global talent pool, cost efficiency, and the ability to focus on core strengths.

How Do The Big Players Play the Outsourcing Game?

Electronic Arts (EA), Ubisoft, and Activision Blizzard all use outsourcing to enhance their game development capabilities. Without outsourcing, they would not be able to create graphically intense and detailed worlds without compromising on quality and time.

Electronic Arts (EA): With blockbusters like FIFA and Battlefield, EA seamlessly intertwines in-house expertise with outsourced talent. This combination has proven essential for managing the intricacies of vast, detailed worlds that are expected in their titles.

Ubisoft: Delivering graphically-intensive, expansive games such as Assassin’s Creed requires a global effort. Ubisoft's embrace of outsourcing ensures they can keep up with their ambitious release cycles without compromising on quality.

Activision Blizzard: Known for its titles like Call of Duty, Activision Blizzard's success isn't just based on its in-house capabilities. Outsourcing, especially for support functions, is integral to their strategy.

While outsourcing may seem counterintuitive, it is this very strategy that has often powered game studios to greater heights. By strategically partnering with external teams, these industry leaders have unlocked scalability, tapped into global talent, achieved cost efficiencies, and maintained their laser focus on core competencies.

The Power of LiveOps

Beyond the initial euphoria of a game launch, there lies the marathon of LiveOps, the meticulous task of continuously refining, operating, and engaging with the gaming community. This part of the game's lifecycle, often underestimated, can determine the lasting success of a title.

The Shift from Creation to Conservation - At the heart of game development is the thrill of crafting new universes, characters, and experiences. But once that game is launched, the focus shifts. LiveOps comes into play, emphasizing player retention, continuous content updates, community engagement, and in-game monetization. The duality of these phases suggests a need for diverse skill sets:

  • Those who can ideate, innovate, and bring a game to life.
  • Those who can optimize, analyze, and sustain that game's success over years.

Breathe New Life into Legacy Games - Older games, though not on the front lines of marketing campaigns, often harbor dedicated player bases. While these games might not be top earners, they still contribute to a studio's brand and revenue. Outsourcing LiveOps for such titles allows studios to rejuvenate these games, introducing new content or mechanics, without diverting primary in-house resources.

Reducing Operational Burnout - Consistently operating a game post-launch can be a tedious task. The monotony of routine updates, player support, and bug fixes can lead to developer fatigue and creativity burnout. Outsourcing LiveOps ensures the core team remains refreshed and passionate, ready for the next wave of innovation.

The Competitive Advantage of Outsourcing LiveOps

Outsourcing isn't merely about delegation; it's about leveraging external expertise for strategic growth. Here's why studios seeking a competitive edge should consider it:

Specialized Expertise - External teams, specializing in LiveOps, come equipped with insights, tools, and strategies that might not be readily available in-house. Their specialization ensures that post-launch operations are streamlined and effective.

Financial Efficiency - Outsourcing LiveOps can convert the significant fixed costs of maintaining an in-house team into more manageable variable expenses. This shift is particularly beneficial during off-peak seasons.

Agility and Innovation - External teams can bring fresh perspectives to game operations. Their inputs can lead to innovative in-game events, novel monetization strategies, and even revamped game mechanics, ensuring player engagement remains high.

Optimized Player Segmentation - Modern outsourced LiveOps teams utilize advanced AI and analytics tools to segment players into ultra-refined cohorts, allowing for personalized game experiences. This level of personalization can lead to improved player satisfaction and retention.

The Future of Outsourcing LiveOps

The gaming industry is evolving at a blistering pace. As the requirements of LiveOps grow more complex, outsourcing, with its promise of specialized expertise and operational efficiency, will likely play an even more critical role in helping studios navigate this complexity.

The beauty of the gaming industry lies in its dual nature: the brilliance of creation and the diligence of sustenance. As we've explored, outsourcing, particularly in the realm of LiveOps, offers game studios a strategic path to manage both facets effectively. By partnering with experts outside their walls, studios can ensure their titles remain evergreen, engaging, and profitable.

In the rapidly evolving world of gaming, the challenge is twofold: to innovate continually and to sustain that innovation effectively. Outsourcing LiveOps can be your secret weapon in this quest, offering both competitive advantages and operational efficiencies.

Understanding and embarking on this journey doesn't have to be daunting. At UW Services, our expertise in tailored LiveOps solutions is designed to support and amplify your vision. Whether you're exploring the world of outsourcing for the first time or seeking more specialized support for your titles, we're here to guide and collaborate.

Why not begin a conversation today? Let's discuss the unique challenges of the industry, explore potential solutions, and chart out a roadmap for your game's sustained success. Our free evaluation can be the first step in this collaborative journey. 

After all, in the dynamic arena of gaming, partnerships often become the bedrock of enduring success. We invite you to connect, converse, and co-create a brighter gaming future.

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