A video game publisher is a company that publishes video games that have been developed either internally by the publisher or externally by a video game developer. As with book publishers or publishers of 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. Some large publishers with vertical structure also own publishing subsidiaries (labels).
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.
Video game publishing is associated with high risk:
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&P 500 diversified list of large U.S. corporations; in April 2010, it entered the Fortune 500 for the first time.
Hype over video game publisher stocks has been breathless at two points:
Below are the largest publishers in general according to their revenue in billions of dollars as of 2017.
|2017||Name of Publisher||Revenue in $bn|
|2||Sony Interactive Entertainment||10.5|
Below are the largest publishers in general according to their revenue in billions of euros as of 2015.
|2015||Name of Publisher||Revenue in €bn|
|1||Sony Interactive Entertainment||9.89|
|7||Bandai Namco Entertainment||2.05|
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 and Sega fell to mid-size and one, 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|
|4||Take-Two Interactive||N/A[note 1]|
|11||Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment||3|
|17||Focus Home Interactive||10|
2K Games, Inc. (commonly referred to as 2K) is an American video game publisher based in Novato, California. The company and its 2K Sports division were founded in January 2005 by Christoph Hartmann, David Ismailer, Jason Argent and Greg Thomas, as a subsidiary of Take-Two Interactive. 2K is Take-Two Interactive's second publishing label, after Rockstar Games, and houses all of Take-Two Interactive's development studios, apart from Social Point and those suborganized under Rockstar Games.2K Play
2K Play is an American video game publisher and a division of 2K Games. Founded in September 2007 for a partnership between Take-Two Interactive and Nickelodeon, the division publishes family-friendly games for Take-Two Interactive.2K Sports
2K Sports is an American video game publisher and a division of 2K Games. The company was established alongside 2K Games, in January 2005, by Christoph Hartmann, David Ismailer, Jason Argent and Greg Thomas. 2K Sports publishes all of 2K Games' sport games, such as NBA 2K and WWE 2K series, and manages Visual Concepts as those games' developer.505 Games
505 Games S.r.l. is an Italian video game publisher founded in 2006, and is a subsidiary of Italian company Digital Bros. S.p.A. The company publishes games globally for leading platforms along with console and handheld systems such as Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony, as well as for mobile devices and social networks. 505 Games headquarters is located in the city of Milan, Italy. The company also maintains divisions in Milton Keynes, United Kingdom; Los Angeles, United States; Lyon, France; Munich, Germany; Madrid, Spain and a network of distribution partners.
The company transitioned from being an Italian games distributor to a global games publisher, offering a broad selection of titles for players of all ages and levels. In March 2015, Digital Bros, through subsidiary 505 Games, purchased 2.67% stock of Swedish game developer Starbreeze Studios.Since its founding in E3 2006, the company has published several major titles such as Sniper Elite III, Payday 2, Assetto Corsa, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, Terraria, How to Survive, Defense Grid 2, Deep Black, ABZU, ADR1FT, and Virginia. The company found its early success through its video games such as Cooking Mama and Zumba Fitness.In April 2015, 505 Games was awarded the title of Best Indie Games Label at the MCV Awards.Accolade (company)
Infogrames North America, Inc. (formerly Accolade, Inc.) was an American video game developer and publisher based in San Jose, California. The company was founded as Accolade in November 1984 by Alan Miller and Bob Whitehead, who had previously co-founded Activision in October 1979.
In April 1999, Accolade was acquired by French video game company Infogrames Entertainment for a combined sum of US$60 million, of which US$50 million in cash and US$10 million in growth capital, and was renamed Infogrames North America, Inc. The company chief executive officer, Jim Barnett, was named head of Infogrames Entertainment's American distribution subsidiary. In December 1999, Infogrames additionally acquired a controlling stake in GT Interactive for a total investment of US$135 million, and renamed it Infogrames, Inc.On September 11, 2000, Infogrames North America was acquired by Infogrames, Inc. for 28 million market shares transitioned to Infogrames Entertainment, effectively merging Infogrames North America into a newly founded, wholly owned subsidiary of Infogrames, Inc.In June 2017, Hong Kongese holding company Billionsoft announced that they had acquired the "Accolade" label, and announced Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back, in cooperation with developer Black Forest Games and publisher Tommo, to be the first game released under it.Apogee Software
Apogee Software, LLC is an American video game publisher based in Rowlett, Texas. The company was founded by Terry Nagy in 2008 after he acquired the rights to the name and logo from 3D Realms.Conspiracy Entertainment
Conspiracy Entertainment (formerly Conspiracy Games) is an American third-party developer video game publisher, publishing games from smaller companies that would face difficulties distributing games themselves. The company has also developed a few games of its own.Eidos
Eidos may refer to
Eidos a Greek term meaning "form" "essence", "type" or "species". See Plato's theory of Forms and Aristotle's theory of universals
Eidos Interactive, a former name of British video game publisher Square Enix Europe
Eidos Hungary, a defunct Hungarian development studio formerly of Eidos Interactive
Eidos Montréal, an active Canadian development studio of Square Enix Europe
Eidos Shanghai, an active Chinese development studio of Square Enix Europe
EidosMedia, an Italian software house
Eidos, an Italian menswear brand owned by Isaia.Larry Probst
Lawrence Francis "Larry" Probst III (born June 3, 1950) is an American businessman who is best known for his work with the video game publisher Electronic Arts, including acting as CEO from 1991 until 2007 and as executive chairman from 2013-14. He remains chairman of EA and serves as chairman of the United States Olympic Committee.Portkey Games
Portkey Games is a video game publisher owned by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, founded in 2017 to publish games related to J. K. Rowling's Wizarding World.RedLynx
RedLynx Oy (formerly Punainen Ilves Laboratoriot Oy) is a Finnish video game developer based in Helsinki, Finland, founded by brothers Atte and Antti Ilvessuo on 17 August 2000. The company originally operated under the name Punainen Ilves Laboratoriot (lit. Red Lynx Laboratories), but was officially renamed RedLynx on 3 June 2004. Best known for their Trials series of games, RedLynx was acquired by French video game publisher Ubisoft on 2 November 2011.Rising Star Games
Rising Star Games is a video game publisher formed in 2004 as a joint business venture between Scandinavian distributor Bergsala and Japanese video game publisher and content developer Intergrow. The company is based in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, England, and in North America in California, United States.
Its initial focus was to publish titles from Japanese companies for release in European, Australian and North American markets; it has a wider range of products from developers all over the world. The company has published over 105 titles for Nintendo, PlayStation and Xbox consoles, as well as PC.
In late 2007, the company was surrounded with controversy over what appeared to be its decision to censor the European version of No More Heroes, though it was later revealed that the decision was made by its parent company and the developer Grasshopper Manufacture to release the censored version in Europe unlike what was released in North America.In 2012, Rising Star Games announced the opening of Rising Star Games USA, where North American releases will be published.On July 3, 2018, it was announced Thunderful has acquire the company.Rockstar Games
Rockstar Games, Inc. is an American video game publisher based in New York City. The company was established in December 1998 as a subsidiary of Take-Two Interactive, and as successor to BMG Interactive, a dormant video game publisher of which Take-Two had previously acquired the assets. Founding members of the company were Sam and Dan Houser, Terry Donovan and Jamie King, who worked for Take-Two at the time, and of which the Houser brothers were previously executives at BMG Interactive. Co-founders Sam and Dan Houser head the studio as president and vice-president for creative, respectively.Since 1999, several companies acquired by or established under Take-Two became part of Rockstar Games, such as Rockstar Canada (later renamed Rockstar Toronto) becoming the first one in 1999, and Rockstar India the most recent in 2016. All companies organized under Rockstar Games bear the "Rockstar" name and logo; in that context, Rockstar Games is sometimes also referred to as Rockstar New York or Rockstar NYC. Rockstar also sports a motion capture studio in Bethpage, New York.Rockstar Games predominantly publishes games in the action-adventure genre, while racing games also saw success for the company. One of such action-adventure game franchises is Grand Theft Auto, which Rockstar Games took over from BMG Interactive, which published the series' original 1997 entry. The most recent game in the series, Grand Theft Auto V, has shipped over 95 million copies since its release in September 2013, making it one of the best-selling video games of all time. Other popular franchises published by Rockstar Games are Red Dead, Midnight Club, Max Payne and Manhunt.THQ Nordic
THQ Nordic GmbH (formerly Nordic Games GmbH) is an Austrian video game publisher based in Vienna. It is a subsidiary of Swedish company THQ Nordic AB. The company was founded in 2011 by Swedish entrepreneur Lars Eric Olof Wingefors. Its core portfolio comprises products and brands which were acquired from other large publishers, such as JoWooD Entertainment and its former subsidiaries DreamCatcher Interactive and The Adventure Company in 2011, THQ in 2013, and NovaLogic in 2016.
As part of its acquisition of THQ, Nordic Games also took over video game developer THQ Digital Phoenix in 2013, and in 2015, renamed it back to its original name, Rainbow Studios. In December 2013, they opened an original game studio, Grimlore Games, in Munich. In August 2016, Nordic Games changed its name to THQ Nordic, using the THQ trademark they had acquired previously, to regain its association with their franchises acquired from THQ. Sister companies to THQ Nordic are Koch Media and Coffee Stain Holding (the parent of Coffee Stain Studios and related companies), both of which are, like THQ Nordic, owned by Swedish holding company THQ Nordic AB.TT Games Publishing
TT Games Publishing Limited (formerly Giant Interactive Entertainment Limited) is a British video game publisher and a division of TT Games.U.S. Gold
U.S. Gold Limited was a British video game publisher based in Witton, England. The company was founded in 1984 by Geoff Brown in parallel to his distributor firm, CentreSoft, both of which became part of Woodward Brown Holdings (later renamed CentreGold). The company primarily aimed at publishing games imported from the United States with a lower price tag in Europe and especially the United Kingdom.
By 1985, U.S. Gold projected a turnover of US$6 million for their first fiscal year, and expected to release further 150 games in the year to come. In 1988, U.S. Gold received the Golden Joystick Award for "Software House of the Year". The company also operated the budget range label Kixx. In April 1996, Eidos Interactive acquired the entire CentreGold umbrella (including U.S. Gold) for GB£17.6 million, as a result of which U.S. Gold and CentreSoft ceased all operations.Ubisoft Motion Pictures
Ubisoft Motion Pictures SASU is a French film production company and a subsidiary of video game publisher Ubisoft based in Montreuil. Founded on 27 January 2011, Ubisoft Motion Pictures is in charge of producing films and television shows based on Ubisoft franchises.Xicat Interactive
Xicat Interactive was a video game publisher with distribution across Europe and North America. Xicat held several significant licenses, including
Gothic; Motor Trend; Jane's Information Group; and Guns & Ammo.Zushi Games
Zushi Games was a British video game publisher. Based in Sheffield, Zushi is the owner of the multi-million selling Premier Manager series and best known for Alien Hominid. Zushi publishes titles for the Nintendo DS, Wii, Game Boy Advance, PlayStation 2, PC and Xbox.