The video game industry remains one of the most profitable in the world. Well-known and high-profile companies produce games that are enjoyed by millions of players around the world all the time. However, as with any other industry, it has inherent risks that cannot be ignored, especially considering the high-profile collapses that have happened within it in the past.
Conducting a risk analysis allows businesses in the industry to identify potential challenges and risks so they can develop measures to mitigate them. It often requires a detailed examination of the issues that could derail projects. This article examines how risk analysis applies to businesses in the industry and the projects they work on.
Understanding Risks in Game Development
Game developers sometimes ignore risks that could derail the projects they work on. Perhaps they choose the wrong engine or platform or ignore technical debt that evolves into an avalanche of issues further into the development process.
Identifying different risks is a crucial first step in developing a risk analysis and mitigation plan. This step requires listing different risks — including technical risks, scope creep, market risks, resource constraints, etc. — their likelihood of occurring, and the damage they can do if they happen.
Classifying and Prioritizing Risks
Game development studios and teams can use tools like risk matrices to classify and prioritize risks. Instead of creating one manually, they can use a customizable risk matrix template that allows collaboration and makes their work much easier.
A risk matrix lets them see which risks to prioritize and the resources to allocate to each. This is possible because this visual tool makes it easy to rank the identified risks based on their potential impact and probability of occurring.
Engaging Stakeholders, Including Developers
Game development team leaders should not carry out risk analysis on their own because they may have a limited view or understanding of a project’s inherent risks. Instead, they should involve other stakeholders, including management and the developers, to ensure complete coverage and understanding of potential risks.
Although this process might lead to a more complex risk analysis exercise, it will likely yield better results due to its expanded scope. The reason is that the leader will have more information and data to form a more comprehensive understanding and create a better list of potential risks.
Developing Risk Management Strategies
The mitigation strategies a team or company develops should help minimize the impact or likelihood of the risks identified above. For example, a team dealing with scope creep resulting from changes in project requirements can streamline their processes to focus on what is most important without external factors interfering. They might also consider additional team members to deal with the additional scope.
Conducting Reviews and Updates
Game development evolves, and new risks can emerge as the process continues. Leaders should regularly review and update their risk matrices. Doing so will help them see if the measures they took in the past worked, if existing risks have evolved, and if there are new risks they should know about.
They can then adapt accordingly to deal with any issues they uncover, modifying their risk analysis and management strategies as they do so.
Risk analysis and mitigation should permeate every stage and level of the game development process. It entails understanding different risks and if they apply to specific projects and putting measures in place to deal with them. Risk analysis and mitigation should continue until the game development process concludes.