The Difference between a Video Game Developer and Publisher

Paul Trowe, the Entertainment Editor of VR Today Magazine, has been working in the video game industry for more than 30 years. He began his career at Sierra On-Line and went on to become a Producer at Activision and the Founder and CEO of Pulse Interactive and Replay Games.

Many people are unclear about the positions of “developer” and “publisher” in relation to video games. Developers often choose to self-publish the video games they create, while some large publishers have developers working for them.

Usually, the core difference between video game developers and publishers is that developers are responsible for creating the video game while publishers are responsible for marketing, sales, and PR of it. Most creative talent in a game comes from the developers. They get the idea for a game and have a team of artists, programmers and designers create the details of how the game will look and feel.

When developers have an idea and some concept art, they often go to publishers to pitch their game. When publishers like a game, they may fund it and then create milestones for its production. As the game nears completion, publishers market and distribute the final product.