A number of companies will feel that they have the internal resources to carry out in-house games development rather than simply hire someone to do the job for them. There have been successful stories of in-house development in the iGaming sector, with for instance mobile casino mFortune and their in-house team Intouch Games. They made the decision to employ dozens of dedicated graphic designers, coders, developers and testers to create exclusive slots, bingo and casino games for mobile devices and tablets and have been rewarded with several eGR Awards.
Although mFortune and others offer a compelling case study for moving game development in-house, you can encounter several obstacles when attempting to build your team.
The question is: How much does it really cost to develop what you need in-house?
Consider the staff who specialize in specific software areas, the workstations and office space required, office utilities and everything that comes along with these items such as social security, insurance and taxes. Once you’ve put all of these things in place you’ll need additional resources to promote the game, create a functional support service and fix post-release bugs. If you want people to remain interested in your product you’ll also need regular upgrades to add some new features or improve the functionality or design,
Starting and running an in-house mobile games development company can be very time consuming and expensive, and it’s all for nothing if the games you produce fail to appeal to players. There are lots of costly risks and you must keep in mind that the perfect scenario may not unfold as expected.
Skills & Team
You need to make sure that your development team has the optimal mix of skills needed to complete the project and be successful. It takes a wealth of knowledge and experience to get a game developed and out there lucratively. A typical development project requires one architect, one designer, two back-end developers, one front-end developer, and one part-time project manager. The team is only as good as each individual component of that team, any weak links and the project may stall.
For most in-house development projects there is a person who takes on the lion’s share of the task at hand. If that person is invested in the project and the company being fruitful, you shouldn’t have too many problems, but if that person leaves you could be left with nowhere to turn for urgent help.
Time & Loss
Game development is as much art as it is science and whether it’s the architecture or the grand vision, sometimes software just doesn’t work. Every company has a limit on the amount of time it can dedicate to a project before they simply can’t do it anymore and must admit defeat. You need to consider the time scale for development, as although business needs are often urgent, game development can be littered with unexpected delays. These lulls could result in your development team creating a program that was obsolete before your users got it. Most companies, excluding the behemoths, couldn’t afford to get such a loss.
Hiring an outside game development team means you don’t have to worry about any of these challenges and more. Consider the internal finger pointing that will occur if things go wrong and balance that with the advantages of having full ownership of the final product and the knowledge gained while developing it. In-house development is a minefield, but come out the other end and you’re in golden fields.