We were faced with resourcing issues during the development of one of our newest IPs. Our parent company had a hiring freeze and didn't want to increase headcount or invest in the overhead.
Issue: How do we scale up to make sure we hit the milestones and deadlines of this product without new dedicated resources?
Our studio was live servicing 3 active games. We had one coming to the end of its life cycle and 2 others still in their prime. Now we had to build and develop a brand new 4th game that was linked to a high profile IP.
4th developing game
I looked over game C. It was approaching the end of its life cycle, so we began the process of cycling off those 3 internal head-counts to be put into the new IP. It was about a 2-month transition with variable resourcing stages. We were able to sunset game C and move those users over to our other 2 thriving games, A & B. The 2 resources on game C were now ready to dive into brand new work as well.
When it came to our 2 thriving titles, we sat down and looked over the daily operating cost for each title. Game A was our golden goose, hitting monthly numbers on a consistent basis. Game B was doing well but running more in a maintenance mode. In game B, we had 3 extremely talented resources. Likely why they were able to keep Product B producing with such low overhead. We could really use their expertise to ramp up 4th developing IP game.
I sat down with the team of game B for a deep dive into the daily operations. Over the course of a month, we formulated a plan with detailed documentation for teaching outside resources to potentially maintain this title.
We took a hard look at potential outsourcing studios. I surveyed close to 20 all over the globe. Eventually, we chose a reputable developer located in South America. It was the most ideal cost/quality combination. An extreme positive was also the time zone differential being minimal to our location in Chicago. It's always nice to have work ready to assess right when you walk into the office.
Enter the Partnership
With the addition of the outsourcing studio, we reduced the monthly operating costs of game B by 45% and the output and live operations didn't skip a beat. In fact, having a new invigorated team on the product gave it a 5% - 7% boost. New ideas were plentiful with the new team. This was a very positive shift.
Resource BOOST for the 4th!
We now had 5 new resources cycling onto the 4th developing IP game. A welcome and needed addition to the teams.
We did a hard assessment of all the content creation needed for this new title. It was a monster task to get sorted, but when we did, it was clear the direction we needed to take.
Pooling my past resources and connections with the creative industry within Chicago and a few outside of the Midwest, I started the content production wheel.
We brought on 5 creative content producers all with focused strengths. I built out the budget with my in-house art director. After the first few content drops, and when we were happy with the quality and cadence, I renegotiated the costs for each freelancer. We were able to lower the rate and guarantee the freelancers more work over time. It was a win for both parties.
After setting up this whole system with our freelancers, contractors and a reliable outsourcing studio, it offered us:
Lower Resource Overhead
Ideal Cost Effectiveness
These 3 things offer a small studio the ability to play in the big leagues and still allows us to turn on a dime when needed.