Games

Games producer

Also known as: Internal producer, Brand manager, Production manager

Games producer

What does a games producer do?

Games producers are the eyes, ears and glue of game development. They raise the money, get talented staff on board and make sure the best possible game gets made, whatever challenges might stand in its way.

Before production starts, producers work with the designer, lead artist and lead programmer to work out characters and scenarios in a game. They might test the ideas on players, define who it’s designed for and how it differs from competing products.

Producers find a publisher for the game, control the money and negotiate the contracts with people coming on board to help with development (suppliers). In larger companies, they hand over the day-to-day management of the game to a project manager. In smaller companies, they do the project management themselves.

Producers work closely with the publisher to agree changes to the way the game is developing. They are often the people who speak about the game to the media once it’s released.

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What is a games producer good at?

  • Relationships: be able to work with people from a wide range of backgrounds, be able to negotiate and keep clients
  • Marketing: understand who a game is for and create a game they will want to play
  • Project management:  understand how a game is made and know what needs to happen when
  • Knowledge of rights and licensing: be aware of law and able to negotiate
  • Knowledge of games industry: have an in-depth understanding of its different stores, platforms and games and direction
  • Budget handling: be able to handle a significant budget and work within it

Who does a games producer work with?

Games producers work with publishers, marketing departments and build engineers as well as the programming, design and art teams. They will have a close working relationship with the project managers, if they aren’t actually project managers themselves. They are also the first point of contact when new people come in to join the team.

How do I become a games producer?

To become a games producer, you need to know the industry very well and to have worked in it for several years. A good route in, is to start as an assistant producer. Go to the assistant producer profile for details on how to do this.

At school or college:
If you want to go to university:
Study subjects that will give you an understanding of games production and business. The following subjects A-levels, Highers or Level 3 vocational qualifications could be useful:

  • English
  • Business studies
  • BTEC Extended Diploma in Creative Digital Media Production
  • OCR Technical Diploma/Extended Diploma in Business

If you want to go straight into a job or apprenticeship:
You could take one of the following Level 3 vocational qualifications:

  • Aim Awards Diploma/Extended Diploma in Games Animation and VFX
  • AQA Technical Level Business: Marketing
  • AQA Foundation Technical Level Business: Marketing Communications
  • AQA Technical Level Entertainment Technology: Video Games Art and Design/Design Production
  • OCR Technical Diploma in Digital Media (Digital Content for Interactive Media)

Get an apprenticeship:
It might be possible to get an apprenticeship as a project manager.  Some companies do Level 4 associate project manager
apprenticeships while others do level 6 project manager apprenticeships. This will not necessarily get you into the games industry but having established yourself as a project manager you will be in a stronger position to be a producer in games. Go to how to become an apprentice to learn how to find apprenticeships in your region or approach companies directly.

Qualify as a project manager:
As an alternative to an apprenticeship, you might want to get a specialist project management qualification such as PRINCE2
.

Make some games:
A good way of understanding the processes in games production, is to learn the software, experiment with games engines and start making some. Go to build your games portfolio to learn how.

Get a degree:
Most people in the games industry have a degree. You can get a degree in any subject to equip you for this role.  However, a degree related to games could be particularly useful. Have a look at ScreenSkills’ list of recommended courses in games. We recognise courses with our ScreenSkills Select award where they offer training in the relevant software, dedicated time to building a portfolio and have strong links with the games industry.

Look outside games:
Get work as a personal assistant or something similar in another industry. It can give you a good basis from which to move into games.

Get a job in sales:
Working in retail in the games industry will help you understand customers and the market. Or get experience as a community manager.

Search for jobs:
Use the UK Games Map to find out if there are games companies near you, then go to their websites directly and check out their open roles. Even if they’re not advertising the right role, if you like a specific company it’s worth emailing them to let them know you are looking in case something suitable comes up in future.

You might also be interested in…

Being a games publisher. Or you might also be interested in being a line producer in the film industry or a production co-ordinator in TV.

Further resources