Recent world events have challenged the way the video game industry operates. Success demands that service companies evolve to become nimbler in their delivery methods, but this isn’t a simple process.
Neil Long, Senior Director of Global Player Support; Nee Nguyen, Global Head of Player Communities; and Victor Alonso Lion, Director of Localization addressed this topic at the latest Game Quality Forum, providing their insight into how PTW delivers quality services across multiple locations and languages efficiently, utilizing a combination of people and technology.
Clearly, adaptability is the key to survival in an ever-changing industry. Organizations must consider many factors when determining a winning strategy. What drives continued excellence? Which delivery models should be discarded, and which ones should be adopted or adapted? What are the technology trends, and how do we evaluate their strengths and weaknesses? How do we prepare for the future when it is constantly in flux? As poet and playwright Jessica Hagedorn says, “Adaptability is the simple secret of survival”. But how does a large, global business like PTW achieve this?
An important driver will always be cost. For many companies, this is the bottom line when planning release timelines, as it affects delivery schedules and post-release support options. Cost also leads directly to another important driver, flexibility. When finances are an issue, both large and small studios and publishers must allow for changes to carefully-laid plans, to properly react to evolving market conditions.
Talent and the availability of talent are two drivers that co-exist and can radically alter proposed timelines. Often studios must scale up to handle a quickened development timeline, which requires seeking outside assistance. But if the required talent is not available for this, it can throw a wrench into these plans. There is also a link between the drivers of player expectations and the uncertainty of the market. Despite the best market research, it’s impossible to know with 100% certainty what the game playing audience wants. Social media is full of gamers giving their opinions on what they’ve liked and disliked about various titles, but it’s extremely difficult to ferret out significant meaning from these, in such a way as to inform a solid direction for any game studio.
Finally, consideration must be given to the related drivers of technology and institutional knowledge. These drivers interoperate and inform each other in a continuous loop, and it behooves development studios to keep refreshing their ability to keep up with trends and ensure their team have the capacity to keep updating their technical acumen.