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DaveSanders 05-29-2007 09:58 AM

Location, Location, Location
So, I'm a software developer in my early 30's. For the past 10 years or so, I've been wanting to get into game development and design. But I've always seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I instead have been working in Internet / Ecommerce / Business development world and while it pays the bills, its certainly not in the same vein as game development.

I've often toyed with game dev, working on minor mods, and have tried to get teams of my friends to get together to actually devote real time to game development - all of which suffered due to "real life" priorities. There are a smattering of game companies in Maryland, mainly from the Great Microprose Explosion in Hunt Valley and Bethesda, and a couple down in Northern Virginia, but its no SoCal either.

After living out in Maryland for a while, I've moved back to my home state of Indiana, mostly so that my kids can be closer to the rest of my family, and the outrageously low cost of living compared to the coasts. And at this point, I've pretty much given up any hope of working in games. Even if I did go back to school to pick up anything I needed, the job prospects of working for a game studio are basically nil. And I seriously doubt I could create any sort of competitive independent studio in this area either. I'm not looking to uproot and relocate my family either, especially due to cost of living concerns.

SO, my question is: why aren't more game studios moving toward remote workers? There are no technological issues at this point for working remotely - I know, I do it every day as an independent software developer. There are some trust issues that need to be worked out, but that's something that can be managed to.

With the dearth of tech employees in the U.S. right now, I would expect that even game studios are feeling the pinch for qualified employees. (though I suspect its less that other industries, due to the subject matter) The cost savings for salaries or contracts for these workers would be quite a bit less than on the coasts, and more convenient than sending the jobs overseas. You could even qualify it as a ecological decision - why clog highways, spend gas, and cause pollution when your workers can work from home?

Does anyone in the know see this as something that's coming for the industry?

icemotoboy 07-15-2007 07:38 PM

Like yourself, I have entered the game industry after working as a consultant in the IT industry for a number of years now.

why aren't more game studios moving toward remote workers?
From what I have seen game development is heavily dependent on the team dynamics and co-operation, more so than any IT project I have ever worked on. In fact, its much closer to the construction projects I have worked on in the building industry. This is a complicating factor in developing the project, things are very fluid at many stages in the project and its possible that savings you would make from having remote developers would be offset by the extra cost from having to either heavily document all requirements, or doing remedial work.

I understand that, particulary in Japan, outsourcing occurs for many large projects. However this is one studio contracting another studio to do complete bodies of work - not a studio outsourcing for one person to complete a part of it. I have heard a number of people speculate that outsourcing will continue to grow as an option. This will result in studios having a core of maybe 30-50 people, and then hiring on contract personnel (or contracting entire segments) and/or other companies bringing the surge group of personnel up to 100 or so for the big RPGs.

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