Games

Games publisher

Also known as: Brand manager, Executive producer, Franchise manager, Producer, Product manager, Publishing executive, Publishing manager

Games publisher

What does a games publisher do?

Games publishers give developers the money upfront to make a game. They strike up a deal with a studio (game development company) to make a game according to an agreed brief.  The publisher then works closely with the game producer at the studio to make sure the game’s being made as agreed, to budget and on time.

Publishers help the studio with jobs to support the development of the game. They help with marketing and quality assurance (testing). They also cover product and brand management, which means deciding how to describe and communicate the game vision and strategy. And they deal with the complexities of selling games in other countries, such as translation and localisation.

Some game developers don’t use publishers at all as games are increasingly sold independently through app and console stores and Steam. But most games studios still need publishers to fund and sell their games, produce physical copies and to deal with the branding, advertising and variety of ways in which the game can be bought.

Watch and read

What’s a games publisher good at?

  • Project management: understand how a game is made from start to finish and be able to plan that process, keeping on top of what needs to happen and when
  • Communication: create a game’s brand, tell its story and work with a wide range of clients
  • Knowledge of games industry: in-depth understanding of the games market, where people buy games, what platforms they enjoy, what games do well and what will happen next
  • Knowledge of rights and licensing: aware of the law about copyright and the licensing of games, negotiate deals
  • Budget handling: manage significant sums of money and work within the budget

Who does a games publisher work with?

Publishers work with games developers, particularly the producers. They also work with marketing, sales, analysis, testing, lawyers and distributors.

How do I become a games publisher?

Publishers usually have at least five years’ experience in the games industry before moving into the role.  A good place to start is in a production role within a games studio before going into publishing. Take a look at our assistant producer job profile for details of how to do that.

At school or college:
This role doesn’t require any particular areas of study at school or college. 
If you want to go to university you can take A-levels or Highers in English or business studies. Or you might want to do a BTEC Diploma/Extended Diploma in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship.

If you want to go straight into a job or apprenticeship, the following Level 3 vocational qualifications will give you some skills and knowledge that could be useful in games publishing:

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

Get an apprenticeship:
Apprenticeships are jobs with training. They’re a great opportunity to earn while you learn. This could help you develop your craft and create a body of work for a portfolio that you can use to find your way into animation at a later point.

These are the relevant apprenticeships that might be available throughout the UK:

You might even find degree-level apprenticeships:

Before taking any apprenticeship, check what you’ll be learning with your prospective employer and college, so you can be sure it will be giving you the skills you want. Go to how to become an apprentice to learn how to find apprenticeships in your region or approach companies directly.

Start your own channel:
Set up a review blogging site or content channel. This is the marketing version of having a portfolio. You can send a link with your CV to show your writing and online skills, and, equally importantly, your interest in games.

Get a degree:
Most people in the games industry have degrees. If you want one, then a degree in marketing or business studies would be relevant. H
ave 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.

Network:
Get to know people in the games industry by attending events, including games conferences and expos. Meet professionals and ask them questions about their work, while demonstrating interest and knowledge in the industry. Offer to provide them with your professional contact details and try to stay in touch with them. Go to how to network well to learn how to do this.

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. Look for roles as an assistant producer or trainee producer. This is a good place to begin.

You might also be interested in…

Being a games producer, marketing executive or esports producer in the games industry. You might also be interested in being a producer, sales agentdistributor, marketing manager or film programmer in the film and TV drama industries. Alternatively, you could consider being a producer, sales executive or marketing executive in the animation industry.

Further resources