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Outsourcing Effectively: Video Games

Learn how to improve your video games by outsourcing with several different tactics and mindsets you can apply. These lessons come from dealing with dozens of contractors from all over the world :)

We can't be rockstars at everything. You'd be an idiot to try and learn everything if you can find teammates who can pickup slack for your lack of knowledge. If you're in this to make money, put aside the ago and realize that specialization is key. Outsourcing parts of your video game will speed up and improve the development process. Thousands of skilled people are available onelance,, and oDesk. This is a BLESSING to small project managers. If you don't act like a jerk and remember to be human, your outsourcing experience can become much much more.

"What we have here is a failure to communicate"

I don't care how good their feedback is – if you can't have a dialogue (di meaning TWO way) with someone, you cannot work well together. It doesn't matter that your instructions are written flawlessly. If you're outsourcing to non-English speaking countries, after their portfolio & feedback, the next most important thing is their grasp of your language. That's why I suggest asking several questions about themselves. Getting to know your contractor on a more personal level, even if it's just asking what video games she enjoys will help build a bond between you.

I suggest talking on Skype with microphones along with webcams. Show your human side and small issues and problems will resolve theirselves. People are also less likely to pull shenanigans when there are actual people and feelings involved.

"Soylent Green is people!"

It's easy to get caught up in how detached outsourcing is at times. You can throw an idea out in to cyberspace, send a project description over with files, send a bit of money, and your idea comes to life right back on computer screen.

Remember, there's a human doing all of that work behind the scenes. Treat them with respect and they'll go the extra mile for you, providing you with invaluable ideas and advice to make your project better. Don't let physical distance dehumanize the experience of teamwork. Try and create a personal and lasting bond with your contractor and you'll be able to count on them for life.

"Scratch my back, I'll scratch yours"

Depending upon the complexity of the project, it's often a good idea to align contractor interests with the success of your project. Lets do a little role reversal – imagine you were a sound Engineer and you were contacted by BleepBloopBlop Studios to create a soundtrack for their new iOS game. They're paying you $500 and the game looks like it has potential. Another job, another dollar. You'll perform your job well, but your heart and soul will never be in it.

However, if BleepBloopBlop Studios changed the incentives to $400 and 2% of profit – you'll study other successful games in the genre, brainstorm ideas, make drafts, & think about it constantly. It vests the person directly with your success and gives them great upside. You'll get the best out of people this way and make incredibly satisfying relationships along the way. Shared success is one of the best things on earth my Jungle Friend.

If you found this interesting, I'll be posting more here and on my blog: (it's almost finished) 

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