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The Info List - Video Game Publisher



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A VIDEO GAME PUBLISHER is a company that publishes video games that they have either developed internally or externally by a video game developer . As with book publishers or publishers of DVD
DVD
movies, video game publishers are responsible for their product's manufacturing and marketing , including market research and all aspects of advertising .

They often finance the development, sometimes by paying a video game developer (the publisher calls this _external development_) and sometimes by paying an internal staff of developers called a _studio_. The large video game publishers also distribute the games they publish, while some smaller publishers instead hire distribution companies (or larger video game publishers) to distribute the games they publish. Other functions usually performed by the publisher include deciding on and paying for any licenses used by the game; paying for localization ; layout, printing, and possibly the writing of the user manual; and the creation of graphic design elements such as the box design.

Large publishers may also attempt to boost efficiency across all internal and external development teams by providing services such as sound design and code packages for commonly needed functionality.

Because the publisher often finances development, it usually tries to manage development risk with a staff of producers or project managers to monitor the progress of the developer, critique ongoing development, and assist as necessary. Most video games created by an external video game developer are paid for with periodic advances on royalties. These advances are paid when the developer reaches certain stages of development, called milestones .

CONTENTS

* 1 Business risks * 2 Investor interest

* 3 Rankings

* 3.1 Major publishers * 3.2 Mid-size publishers

* 4 See also * 5 References

BUSINESS RISKS

Video game publishing is associated with high risk :

* The Christmas
Christmas
selling season accounts for about a quarter of the industry's yearly sales of video and computer games, leading to a concentrated influx of high-quality competition every year in every game category, all in the fourth quarter of the year. * Product slippage is common due to the uncertain schedules of software development. Most publishers have suffered a "false launch", in which the development staff assures the company that game development will be completed by a certain date, and a marketing launch is planned around that date, including advertising commitments, and then after all the advertising is paid for, the development staff announces that the game will "slip", and will actually be ready several months later than originally intended. When the game finally appears, the effects among consumers of the marketing launch—excitement and "buzz" over the release of the game and an intent to purchase have dissipated, and lackluster interest leads to weak sales. An example of this is the PSP version of _Spider-Man 3_. These problems are compounded if the game is supposed to ship for the Christmas
Christmas
selling season, but actually slips into the subsequent year. Some developers (notably id and Epic ) have alleviated this problem by simply saying that a given game will be released "when it's done", only announcing a definite date once the game is released to manufacturing . However, this sometimes can be problematic as well, as seen with _ Duke Nukem Forever _. * The industry has become more "hit driven" over the past decade. Consumers buy the game that's best-marketed but not necessarily of the highest quality, therefore buying fewer other games in that genre. This has led to much larger game development budgets, as every game publisher tries to ensure that its game is #1 in its category. It also caused publishers to on occasion force developers to focus on sequels of successful franchises instead of exploring original IP ; some publishers such as Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts have both attracted criticism for acquiring studios with original games, and assigning them to support roles in more mainstream franchises. * Games are becoming more expensive to produce. Current generation consoles have more advanced graphic capabilities than previous consoles. Taking advantage of those capabilities requires a larger team-size than games on earlier, simpler consoles. In order to compete with the best games on these consoles, there are more characters to animate; all characters must be modeled with a higher level of detail; more textures must be created; the entire art pipeline must be made more complex to allow the creation of normal maps and more complex programming code is required to simulate physics in the game world, and to render everything as precisely and quickly as possible. On this generation of consoles, games commonly require budgets of US $15 million to $20 million. Activision's _Spider-Man 3 _, for example, cost US$35 million to develop, not counting the cost of marketing and sales. Every game financed is, then, a large gamble, and pressure to succeed is high.

* Contrasting with the big budget titles increased expense of "front-line" console games is the casual game market, in which smaller, simpler games are published for PCs and as downloadable console games. Also, Nintendo's Wii
Wii
console, though debuting in the same generation as the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360, requires a smaller development budget, as innovation on the Wii
Wii
is centered around the use of the Wii
Wii
Remote and not around the graphics pipeline.

* When publishing for game consoles , game publishers take on the burden of a great deal of inventory risk. All significant console manufacturers since Nintendo
Nintendo
with its NES (1985) have monopolized the manufacture of every game made for their console, and have required all publishers to pay a royalty for every game so manufactured. This royalty must be paid at the time of manufacturing, as opposed to royalty payments in almost all other industries, where royalties are paid upon actual sales of the product—and, importantly, are payable for games that did not sell to a consumer. So, if a game publisher orders one million copies of its game, but half of them do not sell, the publisher has already paid the full console manufacturer royalty on one million copies of the game, and has to absorb that cost.

INVESTOR INTEREST

Numerous video game publishers are traded publicly on stock markets . As a group, they have had mixed performance. At present, Electronic Arts is the only third-party publisher present in the S in April 2010, it entered the Fortune 500 for the first time.

Hype over video game publisher stocks has been breathless at two points:

* In the early 1990s, the introduction of CD-ROM computer drives caused hype about a multimedia revolution that would bring interactive entertainment to the masses. Several Hollywood
Hollywood
movie studios formed "interactive" divisions to profit in this allegedly booming new media. Most of these divisions later folded after expensively producing several games that were heavy in "full-motion video" content, but light in the quality of gameplay. * In the United States
United States
, revenue from the sales of video and computer games exceeded revenue from film box-office receipts for the first time in the dot-com days of the late 1990s, when technology companies in general were surrounded by hype . The video game publishers did not, however, experience the same level of rise in stock prices that many dot-com companies saw. This was probably because video game publishing was seen as a more mature industry whose prospects were fairly well understood, as opposed to the typical exciting dot-com business model with unknown but possibly sky-high prospects. While many technology stocks were eventually destroyed in the dot-com crash in the early 2000s, the stock prices of the video game publishers recovered as a group; several of the larger publishers such as EA and Take-Two Interactive
Take-Two Interactive
achieved historical highs in the mid-2000s.

RANKINGS

MAJOR PUBLISHERS

Below are the largest publishers in general according to their revenue in BIllions of Euros.

2015 NAME OF PUBLISHER REVENUE IN €BN

1 Sony Interactive Entertainment 9.89

2 Tencent
Tencent
7.73

3 Microsoft Game Studios 7.25

4 Nintendo
Nintendo
3.92

5 Activision Blizzard 3.32

6 Electronic Arts 3.25

7 Bandai Namco Games
Bandai Namco Games
2.05

8 King Digital Entertainment 1.7

9 Nexon 1.55

10 Ubisoft 1.46

In 2016, the largest public companies by game revenue were Tencent, with US$10.2 billion, followed by Sony, with US$7.8 billion and Activision Blizzard, with US$6.6 billion, according to Newzoo.

MID-SIZE PUBLISHERS

Below are the top AA (midsize) video game publishers, ranked by _ Metacritic _ in January 2014 based on game quality according to reviews. These lists are based on the ranking by best to worst publishers according to metacritic's website. Note that two major publishers, Take-Two Interactive
Take-Two Interactive
and Sega
Sega
fell to mid-size and one, Square Enix
Square Enix
, jumped from mid-size to major. Three mid-size publishers ranked in 2013 were dropped from 2014 chart, namely Xseed Games and Kalypso Media . Note also that iOS games were not included in the figures.

2014 POSITION NAME OF PUBLISHER 2013 POSITION

1 Telltale Games N/A

2 Paradox Interactive 4

3 Capcom 2

4 Take-Two Interactive
Take-Two Interactive
N/A

5 Sega
Sega
N/A

6 Zen Studios N/A

7 Devolver Digital N/A

8 Konami 1

9 Slitherine Strategies N/A

10 NIS America 9

11 Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment 3

12 Koei Tecmo 7

13 Atlus 6

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