Outsourcing Game Art in 2024

Guillaume Chichmanov
February 28, 2024

Playing a game is easy but developing one can be a really tall order. According to estimates, this industry will hit $682 billion by 2030, a testament to the success of gaming studios.  Developing an idea and turning it into a playable game involves multiple steps, from character design to testing. Among them, game art is perhaps the most central one, as visuals are something that can make or break a game for a user.

From characters to landscapes to items, these visuals make the gameplay more intricate and life-like. The colors, textures, and designs are crucial to the development of narrative gameplay. Game art is the tool through which game developers present their artistic vision to the world, sparking imagination and emotions.

However, game art development is becoming more and more complex and expensive, which is why one should consider outsourcing it. It is expected that the game development outsourcing market will hit $1.8 billion by 2030, indicating a substantial increase in size. This guide will discuss what game art outsourcing means, why game art should be outsourced, and how it benefits game developers. Read on.

What is Game Art Outsourcing? 

Game art outsourcing means hiring an external team to handle your game art, aiding the overall game development efforts. Since the outsourced artists can have a diverse set of artistic skills, the collaborative approach streamlines the development process, makes the game look more appealing, and brings in fresh perspectives. The gaming audience is expanding as the internet and more capable devices reach all corners of the world. In return, it is fueling demand for high-quality and complex games with modern graphics, which is only possible if the game art is top-notch.

Many game developers now outsource their game art development to third parties. In fact, it has become an integral part of their game development strategy, as they aim to focus on other elements. As a result, the value of external artists has been recognized in the gaming industry to enhance the visual appeal and marketability of games.

The Rising Costs of Game Development 

Creating a AAA game is becoming increasingly expensive due to the expensive technology and software used in it. When you add the 3d marketing and promotion costs to it, the overall bill can reach gigantic proportions. According to a report by the United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), a modern AAA game costs at least $200 million in the current day, increasing significantly from the cost five years ago, which was $50-150 million.

One of the most significant factors in the overall costs is the art and other visual components used in these games. Players demand complex action that doesn't drop frames and contains small details that they find in the real world. It requires top-notch artwork, whose creation can cost a significant amount. However, outsourcing can significantly reduce these costs, and that money can be put somewhere else.

Let's discuss some of the primary reasons behind the rising development costs of games.

Increasing Complexity 

The development costs rise significantly because of their complex storylines and intricate mechanics, which increase the overall costs of the game. Since player demands and expectations are also growing, developers are trying to beat competitors by creating realistic environments and dynamic narratives. Moreover, the usage of virtual reality, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence is increasing, which requires specific expertise in these areas, which increases the overall costs.

Competition for Acquiring Top Talent 

Since the gaming industry has stiff competition from all corners, companies try to acquire and retain top talent to help them program and design complex games. Although these people help companies develop stellar games, they come at a premium. Moreover, keeping them at the company means offering bonuses, promotions, and other opportunities so that competitors don't hire them instead. All of these costs end up reflected in the overall expenses.

Marketing & Promotion 

The gaming market is brimming with hundreds and thousands of titles and companies that are in severe competition against each other. In such a saturated space, it's critical for a company to nail its marketing efforts, involving influencer partnerships, social media campaigns, community engagement, and whatnot, for maximum visibility and reach. Moreover, given the number of social media platforms, CGI marketing for your brand can pile up the costs quickly. 

The Benefits of Game Art Outsourcing

Cost Effectiveness 

One thing that is certain about outsourcing game art is that it saves you a lot of money. If you have an in-house art department, it requires multiple salaries, overhead costs, equipment maintenance, bonuses, license renewals, and whatnot. On the other hand, you can explore a global talent pool by spending much less. For instance, you have to spend around $70,000 on an in-house artist, while the cost of creating game art from a low-cost region is $20,000-30,000.


One of the benefits of game art outsourcing is that you can scale up or scale down according to your requirements. When you have a full-time artist, you have to pay them a monthly salary, no matter their workload. On the contrary, you can hire 3d artists when the workload increases and scale down once the workflow cools down. 

The Skill Factor 

You might not have all the technical art skills in-house, so outsourcing allows you to have 3d artists for hire with the relevant skill set. Game art involves several different skill sets, such as creating realistic characters, intricate environments, and more. When you have multiple 3d game artists with different skill sets, you can masterfully cover all of these aspects. Even companies like Electronic Arts have utilized the services of outsiders to create their blockbuster titles.

Focus on Central Issues 

Game development isn't just about art; it also involves coding, testing, quality assurance, gameplay mechanics, and much more, which one can collectively call core development factors. One of the benefits of game art outsourcing is that developers can focus on these core factors and increase efficiency. As a result, the game turns out to be more refined, and the gameplay feels smoother.

Reduced Workload 

Delegating the artwork to an outsider ensures that the development team has fewer things on their table to deal with. The workload is reduced significantly, and the team morale sees a significant boost. Moreover, it allows team members to focus on things that they really excel at.

Rapid Development

Since the gaming industry has fierce competition, the release schedules are pretty tight, and gaming companies cannot afford to miss them. By parallelizing art development, gaming companies accelerate the overall game development process while the in-house team focuses on core issues. As a result, the company can churn out titles quicker than competitors and stay ahead of the curve. 

Expanding Vision 

Art design is a highly complex area that needs specific expertise, so much so that even the most advanced gaming companies might not know all its complexities. Although developers have the technical capabilities to understand what artists do, they do not see things the same way. The lack of an artistic vision can lead to poor game development, disappointing several customers. Given the number of alternatives, a disappointed customer is essentially a lost customer.

Outsourcing helps game studios get professional expertise in game art and helps resolve all issues from trivial to complex. When vivid imaginations guide game development, players are usually impressed, and the game receives high ratings. Moreover, professional artists keep an eye on all the latest trends, so collaborating with them means your game will have the latest artistic touch, helping you stay ahead of the curve and surpass competitors.

Risk Mitigation 

Game art outsourcing sounds risky on paper, but it actually isn't the case. In fact, outsourcing game art can mitigate risk and help studios achieve much more than they could otherwise.

For instance, an outsourcing studio earns by honoring its contracts and completing the given tasks on time. If they violate contractual obligations, they'll soon be out of business. Given the tough competition, one can reasonably argue that the most successful and reliable outsourcing studios work proficiently to maintain their stellar reputation.

Moreover, quality outsourcers don't just talk about doing something; they actually do it. Since they earn their livelihoods by completing contracts and delivering on their promises, it's reasonable to expect them to honor yours, too.

Essential Tools for Game Art Collaboration 

Asset Management 

Having a robust asset management system is indispensable for effective game art collaboration. It helps you store all the textures, designs, models, sounds, and whatnot. Moreover, you can easily find, edit, and track their different versions in the system. You can also share your assets with different team members across different devices and collaborate with them.

Communication Platforms 

A robust communication platform allows a free exchange of information among the team members and helps improve game art development. You can communicate your goals, expectations, deadlines, changes, and everything else through these platforms and receive constructive criticism. Some of the examples here are Slack, Zoom, and Discord. 

Visualization Tools 

Visualization tools help you generate, display, and edit your art. You can showcase your concept prototypes and improve them for different scenarios and environments. As a result, you can share the prototypes with other team members and check their criticism of general feedback. 


Game art development is a complex area that requires relevant expertise. While you might hire an in-house expert, you'd have to give them a hefty salary, bonuses, and promotions to keep them. You can reduce these costs significantly by outsourcing the game artwork creation. It will also reduce the burden on your core team, expedite project completion, and help you compete more intensely.

Cominted Labs is one of the leading names in the games artwork industry that 50+ companies trust. We have years of experience in game art creation using Unity and Unreal Engine. Cominted offers the most reasonable prices for its services and stays in touch with you throughout to ensure efficient project completion.

So, contact us today and develop games with our reliable game art services.. 

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