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Video game kung fu kicks from China?

Some video game publishers are looking offshore, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Yet another slice of the tech industry appears to be eyeing lower-wage workers across the Pacific: computer-game companies.

Monday's Wall Street Journal has a story (subscription required) saying some video game publishers are looking to send some game design work to Asia where labor costs are lower. An official from Atari is cited as saying China and Vietnam have made "incredible progress" in recent years nurturing talent for 3-D graphics and computer animation.

Offshoring of game-development tasks could add a wrinkle to a labor issue that has emerged in the past several weeks in the booming game industry. Game developers have been speaking out about grueling work expectations. In addition, a lawsuit was filed earlier this year against game titan Electronic Arts, claiming that it improperly classified image production employees as exempt from California overtime laws.

If publishers can easily ship animation or other game chores to low-cost workers in Asia, it may be harder for U.S. game developers to push for shorter hours.

Does offshoring change the game in the games industry?