There used to be a time when developers of all sizes existed from small bedroom teams up to hundreds of people working on projects and everywhere in between. Developers of 40-100 people were not uncommon but all that has changed.
At the moment there appears to be no middle ground, developers are either large in house teams or small external teams. 30-40 people seems to be the top end for an independent developer right now.
Pico developers are the individual making iPhone games in their bedroom and becoming multi-millionaires over night.
Nano developers a handful of people making small games, iterating them and moving onto new platforms.
Micro developers are the core teams of 10+ that expand and contract based on the work available. Freelancers, contractors and outsourcing are the norm here. Much the same as the film industry but without the notion of the SPV to wrap each project in.
Macro developers are the likes of Foundation 9 or Kuju, that have a complex mesh of small teams, each working on their own product but all working together on a common aim. Business units are started and stopped to maintain the equilibrium required for the stock market.
I found running a business of more than 30-40 people tough and impersonal, all sorts of middle management are required to run the business and there’s a constant demand for new work to fill in the work that’s being completed right now. It’s easier to break it down into multiple projects and sub-teams, all of which have their own management structure.
I think the Micro developer model is the right one for today’s market, expand when you need to with the right knowledge and expertise and keep things simple.