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Virtuos: High dev costs unsustainable for "majority of titles"

Mon 12 Jan 2009 8:00am GMT / 3:00am EST / 12:00am PST
Business

But CEO believes that outsourcing boom is a sign of maturity for industry

Virtuos CEO Gilles Langourieux has told GamesIndustry.biz that he believes the current level of high development costs is unsustainable for all but a handful of titles - but that companies can make gains by becoming more organised.

"The last two years have proven that such high costs aren't sustainable for the majority of titles, only maybe for the top five or ten games," he said. "Any studio needs to organise itself so that it's able to come up with a high level of quality, but with a much more streamlined operation."

Langourieux, whose China-based firm employs around 400 staff and focuses solely on outsourcing, believes the increase in using third parties to work on assets in games is a sign that the industry is maturing.

"Where outsourcing comes into play, it's not just about offering cheap labour - what's more important is offering extra capacity that allows you to keep a lean team in your studio in the UK, or US, for example, that allows you to focus your best people on the higher end work while you focus your resources on taking care of all the extra work that would otherwise force you to double the size of your studio - and put you in trouble when you are out of production," he explained.

"Why do we talk more about outsourcing today? It's because the industry is more mature. The fact that a couple of years ago a couple of studios understood that you need to clearly separate pre-production from production, and when you enter production you know fairly well what you need to produce, what tools you're going to use and how much time it's going to take - that makes outsourcing viable on a big scale.

"Without that it's very difficult," he added.

The full interview with Langourieux, in which he also discusses the Chinese gaming market, is available now.

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