- What does Post-Release Game Co-Development Entail?
- Using Co-Development after game release Elevates your title
- 5 Benefits for Companies to Use a Post-Release Game Co-Development Studio
- 1. Seamless and Efficient Support
- 2. Core Studio Focus
- 3. Many hands make light work
- 4. Even publicity?
- 5. Connections and Links
- 3 Critical Things to know about effective post-release game co-development relationships
- 1. Know your team and set expectations
- 2. Define the Product
- 3. Equip yourself with the tools
- Final Thoughts
In this article that is a deep dive into post-release game co-development, we’ll cover its definition, why it’s essential to successful game production and why effective co-development for released games is what often defines a successful game title. We’ll also touch on the benefits of using co-development after game release, and touch on the idea that the release of a game title is only half of the process of game development.
The post-release game co-development process is often overlooked or underestimated, but this process is a key to elevating a good game to a great game. Whilst this process incorporates a wide variety of elements, in this article, we will break it down for you so that you can develop an understanding of this phase in the development and improve on your release. Co-Development is more common than you’d think and is a great way to elevate your production and core team’s efficiency by introducing talented and experienced professionals who know how to support a game title effectively, especially post-release.
In this section, we’ll break down the definition of Post-Release Game Co-Development and what is included under the umbrella, and in doing so reveal some of the benefits of post-release game co-development too. On a basic level Co-Development is the collaboration between the core development studio creating a game title and a company that has been hired to assist that core company. This can take place through any part of game development, as a core studio may hire a company to come up with pre-visual work or may hire a company to assist with building the game elements to support game porting but in this specific case, we are referring to Post-Release.
Post-Release Game Co-Development generally refers to a studio that can assist with ongoing support for the title, including but not limited to patching and improving the released title. They can also assist with the planning and execution of the release on different platforms as well as provide resources for users to engage with the content of the game through different mediums. In terms of Post-Release, a Co-Developer will often be responsible for creating retention among users and can do so in a myriad of ways including additional content, marketing, and porting to other platforms or stores.
You may be thinking at this point, that it sounds like only half the story is releasing the game, and to some extent, that is accurate. Post-Release Game Co-Developers provide you the resources and tools to assist with ongoing elements of your game title that can include the monetization of the product too. Whilst all of these elements seem overwhelming, some studios specialize in co-development and specifically Post-Release Co-Development too.
When we look at the game release window and consider the main issues that occur, we see a few standouts. The first of which is obvious, especially in modern gaming, and this is bugs and errors – this is something that you can hire a co-development team to handle post-launch and is one of the many advantages of post-release game co-development, that your core team can hand the reigns over for release patch support.
The second and less obvious is providing user connectivity. Developers that provide their gamer base avenues of communication with them typically see better post-launch results and create a great reputation. Gamer bases for titles tend to generate great promotion and praise for developers who listen to their player base post-launch with some studios actually creating more success years after the launch of their title by listening to their users and providing fixes and additional content that indicates they have listened to users concerns and feedback.
With those elements in mind, having co-development of a released game offers you the unique opportunity to have the core studio focus on other elements of production, whilst the co-developmental team handles essential elements of the post-release cycle. The core studio is able to keep track of the roadmap far more efficiently when they are able to allocate post-launch support to another studio.
When deciding whether to use a co-development team there are a few elements of the game industry that are worth noting:
- There are over 50,000 games available on Steam, which means how you support your game post-launch is important
- Today, 83% of video game sales happen in the digital world, how you stand out post-launch is key
- Around 85% of all revenue in the digital game industry comes from free-to-play games, this says that post-launch support and the monetization post-launch is not only lucrative but an important factor
- There were around 14.1 billion mobile game downloads across both app stores in the first quarter of 2021, this tells you the demand for the ongoing support of game titles, even on mobile platforms
Being able to provide your users with support post-launch is among the most important factors of successful game development. There is an expectation that games will launch with bugs and issues that have been missed during the production cycle, but what stands out to users is actually how quickly these are addressed and how effectively the addressing of those issues is communicated from developer to user – a co-development studio will have extensive knowledge of how to provide that service.
Put simply, having a co-development studio provides the core studio the opportunity to prioritize other content post-launch. Whether that means prepping the title for other gaming stores and platforms or potentially starting production of DLC and additional content. Having a co-development crew post-launch delivers a level of stability that other productions without one don’t have which puts you as a studio at an advantage.
Having a professional co-development crew ultimately provides you as a core studio the ability to delegate and effectively overcome post-launch hurdles that other studios without this team struggle with or take longer with. Co-Development teams have been used in all sorts of capacities from marketing, to platform assistance, to porting and support, so they’re capable professionals that core studios who can be comfortable delegating big roles.
Some co-development teams specialize in marketing, providing you with a team that knows how to not only generate buzz via influencers and social media for your game title but deliver your game a reputation before it even hits the digital shelves. Co-development teams are regularly used post-launch too to continue to generate content that increases player retention with the game title which is a key to long-term success in the games market.
Third-party co-development studios also regularly work with other game distribution platforms, which means if you as a core developer don’t have access to specific platforms, they will be able to provide you with the knowledge and the processes involved in getting your game on multiple stores and platforms, increasing your overall reach with your title in the market.
Like any relationship, whether personal or professional, communication is key, and post-release game co-development relationships are no exception to this concept. A lot of developers find the idea of bringing in a co-development team a bit daunting and far outside their comfort zones but ultimately it’s an exercise that can allow you to expand your brand and your title’s reach. With that being said there are 3 key elements to making this relationship function flawlessly.
It isn’t only important that your co-development team understands what is expected from them, but it’s important your core development team also understand the expectations of this relationship too. Define lines of who is responsible for what process and stick to those criteria to provide efficiency in post-launch support. Things to consider are, will your core development team need to change the way they produce content in order to cater to how the co-development team produces content? This may sound overwhelming as there are a lot of factors to consider, but all of these issues and more can be resolved with good communication between your core team and the selected co-development crew.
Communicate the game to your co-development team. We don’t just mean, tell them what it is about, we mean to communicate the visual concepts, the mechanics, the overall mantra of the product, its market, everything – the more your co-development team understands the game title, the more they will be able to seamlessly integrate their processes into the core development crew’s processes, especially with post-launch support.
What tools will you need to balance and maintain the relationship between the core studio and co-development crew? How will you communicate effectively? Will you use Microsoft teams or another collaborative platform? How will you manage your production and keep track of tasks collectively? Not only that but how will you track the financial side of co-development? Consider the software required to answer all of those questions before signing on a co-development team. Planning ahead here is critical – you do not want to be doing this “as you go”.
Co-development and in post-release cycles or even during production is an effective way to boost and enhance your game’s production and success on the market, but it requires extensive planning not only in which studio you choose to assist you, but how you’ll communicate and deliver the deliverables collaboratively. Like all other aspects of game development, the key when working with co-development teams is planning out all aspects and keeping the lines of communication as open as possible.
It is worth noting that there are studios that specialize in co-development and understand exactly what it takes to provide quality post-release support and content. Pingle studio can offer ongoing support for titles as well as production cycle co-development too, and we’re just one of many fantastic studios that can offer a huge selection of support services for game development.
In closing, setting up a strong architecture in your studio's structure that incorporates the co-development team allows you to take on monumental tasks and puts you and your studio are a large advantage over other game studios. If you’re approaching a launch date or are in early development and are wondering if you can benefit from a co-development team, reach out to co-development-based studios and see if their values and services align with your needs, as you can make the production cycle, specifically post-release far more streamlined and smooth with a professional and experienced team that have provided post-release support for game titles before.