Game Developers in Large Studios or Small Studios - Which one is better?

Game Developers in Large Studios or Small Studios – Which one is better?

Guest Post

It’s no secret that the video games industry is home to some of the world’s biggest studios. There are some giant multinational corporations among these names with revenues of hundreds of millions of dollars. Developers are responsible for making games successful. Every game developer has their own style and process, which can be greatly improved by game development courses.

However, small studios or individual developers face formidable competition from big players in the industry. But there are plenty of games that had modest beginnings before going on to achieve great success. Those people must have done something right, and that’s what is important to get your game in the limelight. Most of the developers benefit from a game programming course.

Now you want to create unique games and better marketing solutions. As an individual game developer, you will carry most responsibilities on your shoulders. It is a game developer who determines the appearance and concept of a video game. The storyline and feel of the game are determined by them. Code is written by programmers within that organization, and artwork is created by artists to implement the developer’s vision.

Developers are divided into three categories: indies, large companies, and third parties. While some outliers exist outside of these categories, these three categories encompass the majority of developers.

The majority of indie developers work on a single game or a limited portfolio of games and range from 1 to 100 employees.

In contrast, solo developers devote the most time and effort to producing the finished product.

It is not uncommon for large-scale game developers to have hundreds or even thousands of employees working on various games across multiple platforms. Some games are so popular that they require all hands on deck to run.

Therefore, the biggest question is how to choose the right path for your game development career. If you are an expert, you must understand the following things whether you want to be an indie developer or are curious to join the large studios.

Understand the gray side of being an indie developer

The online gaming industry has evolved tremendously. A game’s graphics, hardware processing power, and gameplay complexity are continuously being pushed to their limits.

Developers are constantly seeking niches in the industry where they believe their game(s) can thrive. It is up to publishers to find ways to make those games visible so that everyone can profit from them.

The game jam scene is dotted with small studios and indie developers. Indie games have surged in popularity, offering people an avenue to jumpstart their careers. In some aspects, this may all sound great, but the truth is a little murkier. It is true that indie development can offer many opportunities for developers, but it can also limit their access to other, bigger opportunities. Many indie developers have to decide whether to go pro when/if the opportunity arises.

Seeking a publisher or publishing on your own?

Marketing and distribution are a huge part of the gaming industry. Self-publishing or finding a publisher depends on how experienced you are. It is beneficial to work with publishers if you are just starting out and do not have much traction yet. As part of a publisher partnership, the publisher pays the development team to make the game, but the publisher handles all marketing and distribution. On the other hand, in an independent setup, the developer is not only responsible for making the game but handles all the marketing and distribution by himself.

Quality is key in game development

the video games industry

Whether it’s a big studio or indie setup, the quality of the game can never be compromised. For indie developers, this is the best way for you to compete with big-name studios. As long as the game is enjoyable and of high quality, most gamers don’t care about the studio. Gamers will prefer your game if it’s entertaining and doesn’t compromise on quality over any subpar game from a big studio. Despite being fun, low quality can cause the game to leave a negative impression, leading to declining sales.

Therefore, it is recommended you maximize game quality by rigorously testing and QA’ing the game. In addition to revealing unwanted bugs and glitches, testing allows the game to run smoothly. If you go with an external testing agency, you will be able to focus on the development part of the game and make it more enjoyable.

Freedom of creativity

A smaller studio allows the team to work more closely together. It is more likely that one person will handle several aspects of development. As a result, skills are learned more quickly, experience is gained, leadership qualities are developed, and creative freedom is increased. In general, you can come up with original ideas on your own, and pitch them to the Creative Director. Due to the small size of the room, it is likely they will be heard.

On the other hand, the larger studios are run by their leaders who come up with the ideas. Though staff can sometimes add their own spin to ideas, making them happen essentially requires larger meetings. More variables are involved, and more people are involved. In addition, the leaders will realize that they must make the majority of the decisions to keep everyone on the same page and focused on the same goals.


Indie developers are independent, as they are not contracted to develop games by publishers and usually own the game’s IP rights. Therefore, they must market and publish their own games while taking on greater financial risk. Their games are not bound by large corporate publishers and their revenue targets, so they can make what they want. But at the same time, they need to take the financial risks until the game becomes successful. Thus, you may notice smaller studios/developers tend to be indie developers, but by definition, there are also very large companies that are indie developers (CD Projekt Red is a prime example; they are the developers of the Witcher games and most recently Cyberpunk 2077, but also own and operate their own publishing platform called Good Old Games or GOG). 

Enhancing Your Skills is possible with small studios

Due to the size of most indie game teams, each member is likely to take on multiple responsibilities.

An artist may handle marketing and promotion while the programmer works on sound and music. You might get more exposure in small studios as compared to big ones.

The big studio or the indie studio?

The outcome depends entirely on the individual; neither is necessarily better than the other. A career in independent game development involves a lot of creative freedom, even if it means long hours and no guaranteed paycheck.

A game studio may be a better choice for you if you prefer an annual salary and the opportunity to work with a large team.

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