Aviva Directory » Computers & Internet » Computer & Video Games » Developers & Publishers

The focus of this category is on video game developers and publishers, which are similar but not synonymous terms.

A video game developer is a business or individual who creates video games, while a video game publisher is responsible for manufacturing and marketing the products. Most publishers maintain their own development studios, but they are nevertheless known as publishers because publishing is the company's primary activity. Often, a publishing company's development studios will be operated as subsidiary development companies.

Some developers specialize in creating games for specific types of gaming systems, such as the PlayStation or the Xbox, while others specialize in particular types of games, such as role-playing games or single-shooter action games. Most game development firms are small, as compared to publishing companies. However, some have hundreds of employees and several locations. Others consist of only one or two people, creating games for the web or for mobile game applications.

There are three main types of game developers: small independents, third-party developers, and in-house developers. Larger companies may employ a staff of game designers, programmers, sound engineers, producers, and game testers, while smaller companies might outsource some of these functions or include people who wear several hats.

Independent game developers are not owned or employed by any single publisher, although they sometimes market their games to console manufacturers. Some independents self-publish their games, marketing them online. When a game from an independent developer begins to gain traction, it is not uncommon for a publisher to buy out either the game or the development studio.

Third-party developers enter into contracts with publishers to develop a title or a series of games. In return, the development firm receives royalties on sales. Large development firms might have several teams working on different games for different publishers, although most third-party developers tend to be small. Successful developers are often bought out by publishers, becoming in-house developers.

In-house development firms often operate autonomously, with separate work practices and in their own building. Third-party firms that have been bought out often continue to operate much as they did prior to the buy-out, except that they now develop games for a single publisher.

Most video game publishing companies tend to be much larger than development firms, operating their own development firms or employing an in-house team. They manufacture the game, conduct market research, and market the game, often handling the distribution as well. Publishers generally finance the development of games that they intend to publish, either by employing their own developers or through advances on royalties.

The larger game publishers are associated with companies known for producing game hardware as well as software, such as Sony Interactive Entertainment, Apple, Nintendo, and Microsoft Xbox Game Studios. Electronic Arts are the only third-party publisher in the Fortune 500.

Websites representing video game developers and publishers are appropriate for this category, whatever the size of the company.



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