Creating Game Art In-House or With an Art Outsourcing Studio?

June 9, 2021

The choice

The mobile game industry allows an opportunity to advance game development with the help of game art outsourcing studios. But first there are two choices to make:

- Create all the game art in-house;


- Hire an external game art outsourcing studio that would assist in production.


There are ongoing discussions about which one is more preferable as both approaches have their ups and downs. In the first case (in-house), developers do have a solid grasp of the processes and can be way more involved in them. Everything from the workflow to the hardware and life quality of the team is before the eyes of the management and can be directly managed. You know most of your team members by the first name, understand their strengths and weaknesses, and can have that "I am in control" feeling when managing the workforce.

But sometimes micro-management tends to put extra weight on the shoulders of producer, and drains way too much attention, whereas there are way more important tasks to take care of.

Benefits of game art outsourcing

In the case of an outsourcing studio, the developer gets rid of a lot of causes to worry: they don’t need to think about everyday routine of the team, minor tasks, and future workloads. There’s also no need to keep the expenses such as workplace and hardware maintenance. In addition, because most of the outsourcing teams work as independent contractors, developers have only a limited range of responsibilities to them, e.g. no need to have a retirement plan, corporate bonuses, social package, or life insurance.

Also, if it happens that the scope of work is reduced, there’s no need to worry about the downtime of the external contractors – their workload is usually their problem.

Benefits of in-house production

On the other hand, a solid game art or development outsourcing team is usually loaded with projects for months ahead. If developers won’t have any consistency in the pipeline down the road, the external team may feel it’s more beneficial to switch to someone major, such as one of the bigger development corporations. Those always offer a lot of work that typically never ends. Therefore, they provide more reassurance to the outsourcer that their team will have bread on their table for a long time from now.

Final thoughts

Deciding whether to partner with an external game art studio or make do with an in-house team is about weighing all pros and cons — if it makes sense in terms of the production length, timelines, and expenses, it is highly beneficial to get an external team. However, if you feel more comfortable creating everything in-house (which mostly fits the approach of smaller development studios), and being able to look all your artists in the eye, go ahead and stick to the known. After all, you can always add an external studio later — the good thing about outsourcers is they are always happy to get new connections in the game development industry!

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