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3 Benefits Digital Asset Management Provides Game Designers and Developers

The sheer number of digital assets—from documents and brand logos to 3D art—has accelerated rapidly, setting the tone for the next generation of asset management. For creative teams at game development studios, whose careers are based upon artwork, animations, videos, and virtual effects, managing the assets they create has been a less than ideal process. For far too long, designers and developers have put up with outdated processes and practices for storing and sharing art assets, practices that take them away from their creative role and waste their time by requiring them to be a librarian or redo work over and over again.

As individuals and organizations increasingly look for ways to improve workflows, understanding the benefits digital asset management provides—and capitalizing on them—will be imperative to stay competitive in today’s tight labor market and ever-changing gaming world.

The State of Digital Asset Management in Game Development

Thanks to advancements in the digital economy in the 21st Century, game designers, artists and developers can leverage digital asset management to find, share and reuse assets with ease.

Interestingly, many highlight the similarities between digital asset management for traditional marketers to those of game developers. For example, the added structure improves workflows and secures things in one location, creating a single source of truth and providing the right asset when needed. However, one of the primary differences between traditional marketers and game designers is that marketing professionals use DAM to store and share final assets—the last step in their workflows. Artists and designers in the game development industry, however, use DAM to deliver the correct assets—3D, 2D, video and audio files—throughout the development process. The platform ushers better workflows throughout the creative processes, speeding up the feedback loop and increasing time for iteration.

Now more than ever, what’s needed is digital asset management software specifically designed and built for the game development world to capitalize on what’s needed most: easy access to and securing of assets, streamlined reviews and the ability to reuse and maximize art assets.

Access and Secure Assets—Easily

It’s been well-reported that office professionals waste time each day searching for information or files, stifling their ability to work effectively and efficiently. With creative assets, this challenge only increases when accessing and securing these very large assets. In our “The 2022 Game Development Trends and Forecast Report” we found that 61% of game developers struggle to find their assets when needed and 52% have assets stored in multiple locations, creating disconnected and complicated workflows, as well as wasting costly storage space. Modern digital asset management strives to create a single, more easily accessible location so time isn’t wasted finding, securing and sharing items. Teams becoming more distributed and the power of modern day Cloud capabilities are two factors driving teams toward adopting this asset management technology.

Maximize the Use of Creative

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With digital asset management, developers and designers can maximize the use of their creative. As found in the report previously mentioned, 54% indicated that sharing and reusing assets is critical to increasing collaboration. Reusing assets saves teams time and money by allowing the designer to use existing creative as a starting point for new assets without compromising the integrity of the original asset. By implementing these technologies, teams can increase flexibility and collaborate more intentionally. This is critical for teams working on a tight timeline and even tighter budget.

Streamline the Creative Process

Reviewing, revising and ultimately approving artwork and designs can get complicated quickly.

Some digital asset management tools focused on game development have started to develop capabilities to auto-tag creative assets using cloud-based AI systems, with added areas to provide feedback in context. This ensures everyone is on the same page and information doesn’t get lost in emails or messaging chats. As DAM improves and expands its features, gaming teams will increasingly expect metadata capabilities. As reported in the Game Development Trends and Forecast Report, 40% of respondents stated they felt moderate uncertainty they are using the latest and approved version of an asset, and 29% noted gaining access to approved assets has become a moderate problem with remote work. By having a stronger digital asset management environment, teams can confidently navigate their creative workflows and game designs, saying goodbye to the days of disjointed and slow review cycles.

The Future of Game Development Technology with Digital Asset Management

A lot can change across an industry in five to 10 years.

For game development, some professionals predict a future where companies move to a subscription-based model, like streaming services. This may make selling individual games less viable, but it could be a lucrative gig if publishers garner exclusive rights to IPs in the game libraries. Others anticipate Indie Studios are headed to a future defined by open source and the possibility of unionization.

Regardless of what the future holds, one thing is for certain: digital asset management is no longer a nice-to-have. With the rise of hybrid work and dispersed teams, more creatives entering the space and gaming technology advancing, digital asset management is required to keep pace with existing and emerging competition. The industry cannot ignore the digital acceleration in front of their eyes, nor the challenges developers and designers face when versioning, finding, securing and sharing assets. Without digital asset management, those in the gaming world will be stuck on the sidelines.

[To share your insights with us, please write to sghosh@martechseries.com]

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