Microsoft game outfit changes working model

Microsoft-owned game developer Rare is opening a new studio in Birmingham and the company says it is following a movie industry model when it comes to staffing.

The company says that permanently employing huge teams of coders has lead to a "boom and bust cycle in staffing terms", and that the new facility in the city's Digbeth district will have a core staff of about 90 which will fluctuate with the development cycle.

The gaming industry has been heavily criticised for poor working practices recently with staff complaining about being overworked and underpaid.

Taking on short term contract staff means that the company will be able to hire and fire developers as and when they are needed.

Studio Head Mark Betteridge said, "The old way of making games just doesn’t work anymore. We need to be much more flexible in how we staff a team."

The new site is close to several universities and colleges which, along with possible government tax breaks, could also help to keep the wage bill down a bit.