Capcom Called Out for Ruining Games with Outsourcing
In a surprising turn of events, video game publisher Capcom have been called out for the decline in quality of their games, due to “excessive outsourcing”.
Outsourcing is a useful thing. It’s the process of delegating and “handing over” work and production duties to a third party. For example, when a firm can’t handle the entirety of a task, they can outsource it to another company, for a price, and have them handle the work whilst they focus on something else. If they pick the right company then they’re quids in, and the consumer or client will be none the wiser. However, sometimes it can go absolutely, horribly wrong, and in video game publisher Capcom’s case, that’s exactly what has happened.
At the centre of this scandal is a title from one of the most beloved franchises on Earth, Resident Evil 6. Touted as a ‘huge step forward’ for the undead shuffler slicing games in the title’s pre release marketing, the actual finished version of the game was anything but. With reviewers calling it “dismal” and “horrendous” with critics picking at what some of them called a ‘poorly put together example of video game software’.
As Capcom is a Japanese based publisher, there’s an added pressure on the company to develop games in a Western tone, which sometimes means a heavy emphasis on shave-headed mercenaries and powerful guns, two features which have consistently proved popular in Western territories. And so, as Capcom developed Resident Evil 6, they reportedly outsourced some work to Western developers, to make it more West-friendly, with any one dev from their pick of the 1500 strong developers that Capcom has working for them across the globe, possibly putting a stopper in the quality chain. As a result, it has seen expectations for Resident Evil 6 drop from an estimated 7 million copies (a figure offered up at launch, and presumably before the mediocre reviews came in) all the way down to 4.9 million forecasted copies sold.
The Resident Evil franchise isn’t the only one embroiled in this controversy, with Devil May Cry, currently in development in England at developer Ninja Theory’s studios also being involved. The decision to give Ninja Theory the development rights to such an important Capcom franchise is another “outsourcing” experiment of which the outcome has yet to be determined, as all of the other Devil May Cry games having been produced in Japan, a very long way away form the Western location that the new title is being made in. Devil May Cry is now only expected to sell 1.15 million copies, down from the initial estimate of 2 million sales, in light of this news.
An investors call saw Capcom describe their development problems as being down to a “delayed response to the expanding digital contents market”; “insufficient coordination between the marketing and the game development divisions in overseas markets”; and “decline in quality due to excessive outsourcing”, though it’s promising that they appear to be addressing the concerns of those who are playing their games.
In an effort to ‘stop the rot’ that is their outsourcing mistake, Capcom are reportedly looking to hire around 1000 more developers, to join their current team of 1,500, in order to keep the development in house, and most importantly so that they can keep tabs on it.
Should it work out, or exacerbate the problem has yet to be seen but we’ll update when we know more.
Source : eurogamer