Gaming is big business. The video game industry generated over $180 billion in revenue in 2021 and shows no signs of slowing down. With the rise of mobile, console, PC, and cloud gaming, more and more people are playing video games around the world.
To bring these interactive digital experiences to eager gamers, video game publishers and developers often turn to game development agencies. These companies provide the talent, technology, and services needed to take a game from concept to shipped product.
In this complete guide, we’ll explore what game development agencies are, the services they offer, different agency types, how to choose one, and more. Let’s level up and dive in!
What is a Game Development Agency?
A game development agency is a company that specializes in creating video games for clients. The client hiring the agency usually owns the intellectual property and creative vision for the game.
The agency then handles bringing that vision to life through game design, programming, art, audio, QA testing, and other development services. This allows the client to tap into the agency’s expertise and production capabilities.
Agencies can work on all types of games – console, PC, mobile, VR, educational games, serious games for training, etc. They also scale in size from small indie shops to large full-service operations working on AAA blockbuster games.
Compared to in-house development studios, agencies offer greater flexibility and cost efficiency. They eliminate the need to hire, house and manage a large full-time development team.
Key Services Provided by Game Development Agencies
Game development agencies offer a wide range of services to take a game from early concept to final launch. Here are some of the main services and expertise provided:
- Game Design – Creating gameplay systems and mechanics, level design, user experience design
- Technical Design – Determining technical architecture, platforms, tools
- Prototyping – Developing proof of concept builds to test ideas
- Pitch Decks & Documentation – Creating materials to sell the game concept
- Programming – Writing code for game logic, systems, engine work
- Art & Animation – Concept art, 2D/3D art asset creation, character models, animation
- Audio – Sound effects, music composition, voice over recording
- Quality Assurance – Testing gameplay, finding and reporting bugs
- Localization – Translating game text into different languages
- Porting – Adapting the game to work on other platforms
- Marketing Support – Trailers, promotional assets, show demos
- Player Analytics – Gathering player data to improve retention
- Live Operations – Maintaining live games with updates and events
Larger agencies provide end-to-end services through the entire game development cycle. Smaller shops may focus on specialized strengths like art production or QA testing.
Different Types of Game Development Agencies
The game development agency landscape is diverse. Agencies come in different shapes and sizes tailored to meet client needs across the spectrum of indie to AAA productions.
Indie & Boutique Agencies
- Small team of ~5-30 employees
- Work on smaller indie or mobile titles
- Specialize in specific services like art, programming, porting
- Offer affordable rates for bootstrapped studios
- Larger team of ~50-200 employees
- Capacity for mid-sized console/PC/mobile games
- Provide full-service production capabilities
- More established operations and track record
Large & AAA Agencies
- Hundreds of employees across multiple global offices
- Work on high-budget AAA franchises
- Can staff and manage extremely large, complex projects
- Offer security and world-class talent needed by major publishers
In addition to size, agencies differentiate themselves by industry experience, technology strengths, pricing models, quality standards, communication practices, and company culture.
Key Benefits of Hiring a Game Development Agency
Game publishers and developers choose to work with agencies for many good reasons:
- Proven Expertise – Access seasoned professionals and industry best practices
- Flexibility – Scale team size and work effort to project needs
- Specialization – Leverage an agency’s core strengths and talents
- Cost Efficiency – Avoid expenses of hiring, training and supporting a large full-time team
- Time Savings – Fast ramp up without lengthy recruitment and onboarding
- Focus – Publishers can focus on their strengths like IP, marketing, platform relationships
- Quality – Experienced agencies consistently deliver games up to industry standards
- Alleviate Crunch – Shared workloads prevent prolonged crunch periods at a single studio
For most projects, the specialized experience and scalable capacity that agencies provide make up for the higher cost compared to in-house development.
How to Choose the Right Game Development Agency
Picking the right agency partner is crucial. Here are important factors to consider during the evaluation and selection process:
Portfolio & Reputation
- Examine games previously developed – quality, style, relevance
- Optimal match for your game’s genre, scope, budget
- Check online reviews and testimonials
Team & Talent
- Review key staff – skills, experience, talent
- Cultural fit with your values and work practices
- Get rate quotes aligned with project scope and needs
- Weigh value vs. cost rather than lowest rate
- Ensure clear, consistent communication practices
- Comfortable relationships between teams
- Look for proven processes – project management, QA, development methodology
- Tool chain and pipeline tailored to your game platform
Trust & Rapport
- The agency should understand your creative vision and needs
- Confidence in their capabilities and fulfilling expectations
Visiting the agency for face-to-face meetings can help inform the decision. Larger projects often start with a paid evaluation involving prototype development before committing to full production.
Top Game Development Agencies
The list below highlights some of the most talented and trusted game development agencies operating today:
- Activision Central Tech (AAA console/PC games)
- Ubisoft Pune & Chennai (AAA console/PC games)
- Virtuos (Art production for AAA games)
- Quantum Studios (Mobile/online games, emerging platforms)
- Tencent Games (Top Chinese game publisher)
- Gameloft (Mobile, casual games)
- Unity (Starter/indie game development services)
Many other stellar agencies exist around the world. The right fit depends on your specific project needs, budget, and vision for the final game.
How Much Does a Game Development Agency Cost?
A game development agency Moonmana is a company that specializes in the development of video games. Game design agencies can be found all over the world, and they are usually specialized in one or two types of game genres. The cost of hiring a game development agency depends on many factors, including the type of game you want to create, your budget and the number of developers you need to hire.
The cost of hiring a game development agency will vary depending on what kind of games you want to create. For example, if you are looking for an RPG-style game with 3D graphics and complex gameplay mechanics, then it will likely be more expensive than if you were looking for a 2D puzzle-style mobile app. A lot also depends on who is working on your project – whether it’s just the founders, or a full team of developers. The cost of hiring an agency will vary depending on what kind of games you want to create. For example, if you were looking for an RPG-style game with 3D graphics and complex gameplay mechanics, then it would be more expensive than if you were looking for a 2D puzzle-style mobile app.
How to Choose the Best Game Development Company for Your Project?
The game development world is a competitive one. If you are looking for a company that can help you make your dream game, it is important to know how to choose the right one.
There are many things to consider when choosing the best game development company for your project. The first thing to do is think about what type of game you want to create and what platforms it will be available on. The second thing is to find out what the company’s previous work looks like, if they have any testimonials or reviews, and how much they charge per hour or day. Once you have done this, you can look at their portfolio and see if their skills match up with your needs. Contact them for more information about their services.
5 Tips You Should Consider Before You Start Hiring A Game Development Agency
When it comes to hiring a game development agency, there are some things that you should consider before you start. You want to make sure that the agency has the right skills and experience for what you need. You also want to make sure that they can provide the services and resources you need. You should also take note of their deadlines and turnaround times.
A game development agency is an organization that provides services related to video games and other electronic games. They offer a wide range of services including developing, designing, marketing, publishing and distributing video games for clients.
5 tips before hiring a game development agency:
- Skillset – Make sure they have the right skill set for your project
- Deadline – Make sure they have reasonable deadlines
- Resources – Make sure they have the resources you need
- Communication – Make sure they communicate clearly with you and deliver what they promised
- Rates – Make sure you find out their rates
Game development agencies offer publishers, brands, and entertainment companies the expertise needed to turn game ideas into playable experiences. They provide the talent, technology, and services for developing across platforms ranging from AAA console games to mobile apps and emerging media.
By understanding the different agency types, services offered, and criteria for selection, you can identify the right agency partner for your project’s particular needs and scope. A quality agency that “gets” your vision can help bring your game successfully through the complex production process to delight players everywhere.
With the video game market continuing its massive growth, game development agencies look to play an expanding role converting more great ideas into great games we all enjoy.
What types of services do game agencies provide?
Game agencies offer a wide range of services spanning concept development, pre-production (design, prototyping), full production (programming, art, audio, QA), and post-production (porting, localization, marketing support). Larger agencies provide end-to-end services while smaller shops focus on specialized strengths.
Should I hire an indie or AAA game agency?
It depends on your project budget and needs. Indie agencies provide affordable options for bootstrapped studios but may lack experience scaling up for large complex games. AAA agencies offer world-class talent and security for major projects but come with higher costs.
What mistakes should I avoid when choosing an agency?
Don’t just pick the cheapest bid. Review their portfolio for relevant experience. Make sure communication practices align. Visit them in person if possible. Have a trial evaluation period before full commitment. Don’t assume the biggest agencies are necessarily the best fit.
How can agencies help manage project costs?
Agencies provide flexibility to scale team size and work effort based on project phase, eliminating costs of full-time staff. Their specialized expertise also improves efficiency. But beware agencies that take on too many projects and spread teams too thin.
Should I be worried about quality from an agency vs in-house team?
Not if you choose the agency carefully. Seasoned agencies with strong talent and track records consistently hit quality bars. Leverage their experience instead of assuming quality issues. Clear expectations and realistic schedules also help.
When does it make more sense to hire my own in-house team?
If you are an established studio with ongoing projects, the long term costs of full-time staff may pay off. For one-off projects or publishers needing flexibility, agencies make more sense. Some studios use a hybrid approach with a small permanent team plus outsourced help.