Wideloads new development model

2004/08/04

Wideloads new development model

In an interview with Digital Media Net, Alex Seropian, ex Bungie Co-founder who recently founded Wideload, explains how his new model relies on outsourcing to reduce game development costs.

Extracts :

“We’re at a unique point in the history of the game industry.  Games are getting more accessible and more sophisticated, but also more complex and therefore more expensive to make. With the next round of consoles, game development costs will increase substantially.  The old studio model is having trouble keeping up with the pace of the rising complexity of games and the costs that go along with it.

This is where Wideload comes in.  With our model, we can maintain a small internal team that stays focused on the creative side. Because the internal team is small, we have a great culture and environment to be inventive and idea rich. Our model also allows us to build the right-size production team with the right makeup every time, without having to carry an enormous overhead, which in turn decreases overall game development costs (…)

With our model, a small internal team can focus on developing creative game ideas, intellectual property and prototyping.  This allows us to really concentrate on making our games innovative and gives them a great chance at success before we put it into production.  Additionally, since our internal team is small and flexible we have an excellent work environment and culture for the creative process.  We can work together on ideas quickly and informally and go through many ideas/prototypes before committing to put one into production, none of which you can do in a large organization(…)

It’s easy to be lazy about pre-production, documentation and conceptualization wheneveryone is co-working in the same studio.  When you are working with outside talent, you need to be able to clearly articulate your vision.  That process alone makes us define and understand our games extremely well (…) There is two core benefits with our model:  First, my team can focus on preproduction.  With a small crew we have the creative atmosphere of a small company.  We focus on being creative and avoid being distracted by the politics of a large organization.

Second, we can efficiently and easily staff projects up and down, avoiding the burn rate of a large shop.  We can also bring the relevant talent we need onto each project – so if weneed lots of animators, for instance, it is easy for us to scale quickly to meet that need. This scalability reduces development cost.  In fact, with our first project we worked out the production budget with both our new model and the old model (i.e. staffing up our internal team). 

Our model realizes us a 40% cost savings.  Even more important than that is the reduction of risk and efficiencies we gain by focusing on the pre-prod -uction phase and keeping our internal team small.”

Source : http://digitalproducer.com/articles/viewarticle.jsp?id=25677

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