Sperasoft CEO Igor Efremov reveals why the changing face of development is providing a fertile environment for studios to outsource work to other specialists

Secret Source: Sperasoft on the future of outsourcing

What is the current state of the outsourcing sector like?
It’s buoyant and business is growing. Games are bigger, there are more platforms and a large majority of games have a large volume of content, DLC and ongoing support, so there are just physically more jobs for an outsourcing development studio to do.

Studios are always looking for ways to control costs, and there is a constant push globally to find lower cost options. However, we are finding that it is becoming much more important and attractive to our clients to complete projects at a high quality and with more complexity, versus lowest price. We have begun shifting to offer services that are more complex and multi-faceted rather than just artists or engineers.

What projects have you been working on recently?
We have worked on FIFA, Dragon Age: Inquisition and League of Legends, to name a few. We feel very proud to list those incredible games in our portfolio. 

What attracts you to work on a particular project?
We are attracted to work on quality products no matter what the genre or platform. Quality is the thing. This also provides our developers a unique opportunity to work across a wide variety of games and that’s important for them and something they are passionate about.

We operate our offices like a triple-A game developer – this means providing varied opportunities to work on interesting and unique game IP.

What are the benefits of outsourcing?
The scope and scale of gaming is growing and this puts pressure on publishers. A good outsourcing development studio can elevate that pressure, help the publisher to focus on what they excel at and fill in the gaps. We are a fully-formed experienced team that publishers can ‘bolt on’, allowing them to staff up quickly with world class developers without all the complications they would face having to do that within their current structure. 

It is becoming much more important to complete projects at a high quality, versus lowest price.

Igor Efremov, Sperasoft

What are the challenges of offering outsourcing?
Having the best developers who are up-to-date in the latest technologies at all times. We counter this challenge by having offices all over the world, in America, Canada and Eastern Europe. This allows us to recruit the very best staff, wherever they may be. It also allows us to take advantage of creative developer hotspots.

Do the tools and technology you use vary from project to project?
Our working methods differ per project; we like to offer bespoke solutions to suit each client and each game. But the games industry is never boring. We constantly face new interesting new challenges. It’s very cool to be at the cutting edge of development, with new stuff constantly round the corner – for example, we have been very interested in all the opportunities that VR will bring to the market.

You’re currently recruiting – what is the job market currently like for those in outsourcing?
We are constantly recruiting because the number of projects is growing and we need to have the very best staff. This means we are always on the lookout for fresh talent in our multiple locations. Last April we opened our Krakow office, and we have plans to grow that to 100 staff this year, so that is an ongoing job. 

What are the key pieces of advice you have gathered from your time assisting different studios across multiple platforms and genres?
It takes a lot of people with a lot of different skills in different places in the world to make a great game, so focus and communication are really key.

We have a unique approach that allows us to sprinkle Western leadership and talent throughout our offices of highly experienced devs, resulting in teams of people who have delivered massive platforms generating $3 billion a year and shipped $200 million in triple-A products.

Article originally published in Develop: March 2016 issue.

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