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Cultural barriers can hinder outsourcing, says Devine

Ultizen's Michael Devine says that cultural barriers create issues in outsourcing that must be overcome

One of the major issues in international outsourcing is the existence of cultural barriers says Ultizen's US business VP Michael Devine.

"The gaming world has become a worldwide stage, but there is definitely significant regional flavour and differences," he told GamesIndustry.biz

"There is a lot of training time involved and ramping time involved - whether its Eastern European or Indian or Chinese teams - to get the right look, get the right feel. To learn how, operationally, North American teams work. To be able to be integrated. To be seamless. There are significant issues."

Devine says that in most of these situations companies need key members of the teams to have superior language skills, and they need to make sure that both sides are managing the process so that everybody is clear on the communication.

"It is really not, in most instances, as simple as getting parameters for the assets and going ahead and creating them. It is a lot more detailed than that."

Whether or not an outsourcing project is ultimately considered successful depends on how well those communication issues are managed.

"The companies that don't pay attention to that management structure and don't work hard on both ends - the domestic team and the international team...If they're not working hard on that communication, there absolutely can be issues," Devine said.

The domestic partner needs to make its expectations clear and must be willing to organise and work at the communication. At the same time, the international team must be structured to work with that communication and needs to let the domestic team know what they understand and what they need to be clarified.

"Style-wise, each region definitely has nuances. But, typically, if you have a good and broad art team - if they communicate well and understand direction well - its very achievable for them to obtain any look that is necessary.

"Same thing for a domestic art team. It's really about understanding what the task is."

The complete interview with Michael Devine is now available.


Mark Androvich