The Game Developer's Conference is always intriguing to watch, if only for the hints dropped at where the industry is heading. While E3 is good for getting to know what games to look out for, the GDC is influential because of their information on how those games actually get made. This year? The host of the GDC is having a one-day event to talk about the value in outsourcing development. Now that all the call centers in the business world are overseas, will publishers start farming out their development work as well?
It's not that weird of an idea, animation houses have long used overseas animators to work on their products while they control the design and story. Games are getting more expensive to make, so moving the grunt work to get cheaper coding would be one way of cutting back on costs. If it also increases production and allows more time to fine tune issues and gameplay in the development cycle, this could be a good thing indeed for gaming. While no one wants to see people lose their jobs, it's clear from the stories of unpaid overtime and ruined home lives that there is too much work to go around. Stricter overtime laws might also give developers and publishers a good reason to move their work overseas. On the other hand, the logistics of having development outsourced while keeping track of your assets and overall quality of the game may be overwhelming. If development is split between many places it may become very difficult to create a cohesive, efficiently coded product.
The event will have a series of talks from developers with experience outsourcing their work. It's pretty clear there'll be a number of people involved in overseas business ready to hand out business cards to overworked development houses. This is worth keeping your eye on if you're involved in game development.