Game development is a process that lasts multiple steps. It starts from the ideation phase, where an initial idea is formed, and then undergoes multiple processes, including programming, art, and testing.
It involves the effort of team members from multiple departments, especially in the case of large-scale games. All the numerous personnel involved in the development collaborate towards a singular vision.
But once the final product is completed, what then?
Because now you have a complete game that you and your team members have put hours into. You have to now find players for your game, so you can reap the benefits from it be it monetary, promotional, or anything else.
This is where the role of publishing comes in.
You might now start wondering, what do game publishers do? How does the game publishing process work? And more importantly what is publishing?
To put it simply, game publishing is the method of making the game you have created available for the target audience to play. This means making them available in different stores, both digital and physical.
Publishing is a crucial step because if not done in the right manner, the whole hard work done till then becomes pointless. If you are unable to find the right audience for the game and ensure the audience knows about your game, then the whole endeavor becomes meaningless toil.
In the gaming industry, the game publishing process normally falls into two different brackets.
The first one is self-publishing. This is the method where you publish the game by yourself without relying on another entity to take responsibility for it. You are responsible for handling the entire game publishing process from start to finish.
The second one is to publish with a top publisher. This includes top gaming companies that have released numerous games to an audience that might amount to millions. In this case, the publisher will take responsibility for the entire process and help you release your game to the target audience.
Both these approaches come with their own set of drawbacks and benefits.
The benefit of self-publishing comes with better control over the publishing of the game. The credit of the game also stays with you as well. However, self-publishing is rife with challenges as it often limits the number of users you can acquire due to the disparity in influence compared to top publishers.
You might have a doubt: what do video game publishers do? The benefit of hiring a top publisher is that it gives you access to their resources and experience. It also helps you reach a larger potential audience. But it also comes at the cost of having reduced creative control. In addition, it also means sharing a significant percentage of the profit with the publishers.
If you decide to opt for a top game publisher after seeing all the different benefits, then there are certain things you must keep in mind.
The first thing is that you have to reach out to the publisher. You can do this with either a game idea or a finished product for which the entire process of development has already been completed.
Before we explain any further, bear in mind that when you reach out to a top publisher, just make sure the publisher works within the target niche. For instance, if your game is a mobile game, then you have to reach out to a game development studio that publishes mobile games. This is because renowned game publishers often have specific platforms they focus on.
If a publisher agrees to work with you even if all you have is an idea, then the publisher would also finance the production, either completely or partly. The company is also going to invest a lot of resources into the project, and in addition, you will be able to access the resources the company already has at its disposal.
If you are approaching a publisher with a project already developed, then you must ensure that the game is properly tested, ensuring it is free of issues. Because even with the best game ideas, if your execution is poor, then the publisher is less likely to accept your game.
The final thing to understand when you are about to work with a publisher is the terms as part of the agreement. Publishers would come up with their own terms, including the revenue split when they accept to publish your game. You have to carefully consider the terms before you move ahead with the project.
Game publishing process, regardless of being done by self or with a top publisher, encompasses certain steps. Below, we list some of them:
There are numerous avenues where you can release your game. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks.
So, before you choose to release the game, identify the distribution platforms most apt for your target audience. If your audience, for instance, is young people who play on console and PC, then it might be aptest to release the game on storefronts such as Steam and The Epic Store.
However, you have to understand that each store has its own set of guidelines.
The first guideline is the creation of the account itself. Some stores, such as Steam, require you to pay a certain fee upfront. Others, like the Apple App Store, require you to pay a periodic amount.
The next is the guidelines related to profit sharing. Most of these platforms take a certain percentage of the revenue as their cut. This commission amount in platforms like App Store and Steam is 30%. Other platforms have their own individual commission percentages.
Finally, these stores require you to create detailed information regarding the game prior to release. This includes screenshots of the gameplay, trailers, and detailed description of the game. All of these help attract the right types of users, which is beneficial for both the platform and you.
You also have to prepare the marketing material for your game. Marketing is an unavoidable step in the overall game development process as it helps find the audience for your game.
To do this in the right way, you have to create marketing material such as promotional videos, images, etc. This helps communicate the features of your game to the target audience. You can use both digital and real-world marketing opportunities after finding out the best avenues to reach your final audience.
Other methods of marketing and promotion include community building and influencer marketing. Community building is the process of building hype for your game by forming a community of all the potential players. Influencer marketing is the process of finding and partnering up with top influencers in the industry and leveraging their reach to a wide audience to promote your game.
Set up a potential release date for your game. This helps build anticipation for your game as the audience will look forward to that particular date.
Setting a concrete release date also helps you plan the whole marketing and promotion. It allows you to set up timelines to release various marketing materials such as trailers, teasers, etc., all of which will help you build up the hype on an incremental basis.
This release date, however, has to be planned in collaboration with the development team. The development team will have a specific timeline they adhere to, and the game should be released after the entire process is completed. Otherwise, it will lead to a game with a lot of hype but no end product to show for it.
Before releasing the game to a wider audience, localization is often done.
Localization is the process of customizing the gameplay experience to make it more region-specific. This helps take into account cultural-specific sensitivities to streamline the final user experience more tailored to a specific set of audiences. It also takes into account the rules and regulations of certain regions as well.
Localization is a crucial step these days as users warmly welcome such accommodation. The release of games through digital stores has also made the adoption of this practice widespread
By now, we assume you have a better understanding of what is game publishing and what game publishers do.
Game publishing is a crucial step in the game development process. It is done with extreme care by top companies to ensure the game is released to the right audience in the right distribution avenues.
To make games popular and more accessible to the audience, you have to weigh in multiple factors, such as the decision to self-publish or not, choose the right distribution avenues, localization, and more.
Juego Studios is a top game development company, with numerous games created over the last few years. Our experts understand the industry inside and out, offering informed insights to elevate your game idea into a quality game.