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Niko Partners, Game Developer Research Explore Chinese Game Outsourcing

Chinese market research and consulting firm Niko Partners has presented results from its latest report, with data collected by Game Developer Research, at GDC China, showing that over $35 million will be spent outsourcing game assets to China in 2007.
Chinese market research and consulting firm Niko Partners has presented results from its latest report, with data collected by Game Developer Research, at GDC China, showing that over $35 million will be spent outsourcing game assets to China in 2007. According to Niko and Game Developer Research (part of the CMP Game Group, as is Gamasutra), the 2007 revenue from outsourced development of international games in China will exceed $35 million, and will grow in 2008 and beyond as supply is able to accommodate increasing demand for game outsourcing services. China has emerged as a center for art and animation outsourcing services, along with programming, QA, and testing. Most of the projects are portions of next-generation console games for international markets, due to their high art development costs. Approximately 33 Chinese outsourcing studios conduct services for international games, two-thirds of which have more than 40 employees. The industry is consolidating the number of studios, but the number of developers on staff at each of the featured studios rose by fifty percent since 2006. The report surveyed 150 studios in China to produce a list of 33 that were then interviewed in depth. A directory of these studios is included in the report with full profiles detailing key corporate statistics. The demand portion of the research was based on a Game Developer Research-sourced North American survey of 166 development professionals. Seventy-six percent of respondents already engage in outsourced game development and thirty percent of them already work with Chinese studios. The percentage is expected to rise over the next few years. The report noted that even though design is not a strong suit of Chinese outsourcing studios at this time, that skill set is also being established as each studio creates and improves its portfolio used for business development. These studios could be the training ground for China's next original IP game developers and publishers. In addition to ongoing trends in supply and demand for outsourcing, the report contains results of a salary survey for various levels and roles within the studios, a look at the development tools in use, and the criteria that many publishers have for selecting a Chinese outsourcing studio. "China has jumped ahead of other regions as the leader in outsourced development of international games. This is in large part thanks to the 44 million Chinese gamers from which more than 10,000 enthusiastic game development professionals have emerged as a talent pool to serve the rising demand for outsourcing from foreign publishers," said Lisa Cosmas Hanson, managing partner of Niko Partners. The current research report, including the directory of 33 studios, sells for $3,000 and is available by contacting Niko Partners directly.

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