When to Outsource Co-Development

Outsourcing can be an excellent way to scale and add highly experienced members to your team’s development cycle, however it can be expensive. The costs can quickly skyrocket, especially if you’re considering co-development for the entire development pipeline. Although doing this can be beneficial when looking to gain a large amount of external expertize and creativity, it may not be the right solution for your project.

At Magic Media, we would suggest that if you’re considering outsourcing co-development, that you take it on for the production stage. Our goal is to create the best possible gaming experience that runs smoothly across all released platforms.

Five stages of game development

 1. Planning

The first stage of game development is ‘Planning’, where concepts are considered and prepared. This is where the team is deciding what kind of game they want to create, the story they want to tell, who they will tell it to, and what platform it will be on.

2. Pre-production

In the second stage of game development, the team’s focus is to take their ideas, narrow them down, and make it more real. In the ‘Pre-production’ stage early prototyping and establishing a story are the main priorities. This is the stage where the plan gets set for the rest of the project, both in terms of development and the game’s story and mechanics.

3. Production

We’ll get to that soon!

4. Launch

Of course, the ‘Launch’ stage is where the preparation happens to do just that. This is where our team will focus on quality assurance and bug fixing, polishing of mechanics and assets, and building up to the final release. When the game is ready for launch, it goes “gold”. The launch stage is actually made up of a number of stages, this is due to the development team going through several phases of pre-launch testing and balance checking.

5. Post-Launch

Finally, we have ‘Post-launch’, this stage is made up of a constant string of bug fixes, quality of life improvements, and balancing while working on new content to deliver later on. Therefore, the Magic Media team works hard to stay at the top of trends and methodologies.

Breakdown of the production stage in game development

To no surprise, the ‘Production’ stage is the longest and most intensive stage of the game development cycle. This is the stage which focuses on the modeling and designing, and the bulk of the game’s design is finalized and implemented. Of course, the audio and visual effects also must be introduced, the game physics and mechanics need to be put in place, and then final renderings occur.

Commonly, when people from outside of the industry talk about game development, this is the stage that most would refer to too. Production is the stage where the whole team is involved in creating, iterating, and finalizing the game. Most of the project’s resources are used here, as this is where the most challenges will arise.

Unlike pre-production, during this stage a lot of mechanical work occurs. During pre-production, this is where we will see a lot of progress on art styles and story beats. Engineers are consulted for technological requirements and potential challenges. The bulk of the work here is with writers, artists, and producers. 

The production phase of development requires the whole team to take part. Our team of creators and innovators will work consistently ensuring that the characters and environments look exactly the way that they were envisioned. It is also important to ensure that the audio and sound design elevates and adds to the game’s events weight. Something like a bad footstep sound effect has the potential to ruin an entire game experience. During this stage the level designers are completely focusing on crafting the final experience, ensuring that the world feels real and alive for the players’ experience. 

Unsurprisingly, the production stage is the longest of the whole process. It usually takes at least 12 full months of development. Even then, it would be considered a very short timeframe to finalize and execute all these elements properly.

Advantages of outsourcing during the production stage

When it comes to the advantages of outsourcing in the production stage, the team tends to be focused on time and resource management. Although outsourcing may be out of budget for smaller studios, it is usually an integral and often necessary step for larger companies. With large companies they are usually under immense pressure due to the time and turnaround expected of them by publishers. Outsourcing isn’t just an advantage, it’s a necessity.

With outsourcing, expert teams can lead your project through all stages of development up to release and post-release support. You will have immediate and continuous access to a large group of seasoned professionals who are there to help you through any stage. Whether you need support across the board in the production stage or just in elements, such as developers or artists, outsourcing can provide this to you. At Magic Media our extensive expertize will cover every avenue of game development, you are guaranteed to have a communicative, effective, and efficient team at your disposal. 

As we have established, outsourcing is a significant saver on time and money. It means you no longer need to look for these team members in the hiring world or take the time to go through a hiring process. The teams come well prepared and equipped, meaning you don’t need to provide them with an intake course or any tool licences. When it comes to outsourcing, our team will be ready and waiting immediately upon contract start. 

In the long run, co-development is less expensive than expanding in-house to scale to needs. With studios spanning the globe, we offer bespoke researched and designed game development and outsourcing. No matter the genre, no matter the platform, the Magic Media teams are prepared from Day 1 to meet your challenges head-on and provide only the best results. We are well experienced in delivering co-development services, check out our case study on the work we did for Railway Empire. Railway Empire is a railroad construction and management simulation game, and our team worked tirelessly to complete a number of projects.

If you’d like to hear more about our co-development practices, or some of our other services such as art, game porting or VFX, we’d love to hear from you.


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