Game producer

Game producer

A game producer is the person in charge of overseeing development of a video game.

The earliest documented use of the term "producer" in games was by Trip Hawkins, who established the position when he founded Electronic Arts in 1982. His vision—influenced by his relationship with Jerry Moss—was that producers would manage artists and repertoire in the same way as in the music business, and Hawkins brought in record producers from A&M Records to help train those first producers.

Although the term is an industry standard today, it was dismissed as "imitation Hollywood" by many game executives and press members at the time. Over its entire history, the role of the game producer has been defined in a wide range of ways by different companies and different teams, and there are a variety of positions within the industry referred to as "producer".

There are relatively few superstars of game production that parallel those we know in film, in part because top producers are usually employed by publishers who choose to play down publicizing their contributions. Unlike many of their counterparts in film or music, these producers do not run their own independent companies.

Types of producers

Most video and computer games are developed by third-party developers. In these cases, there may be external and internal producers. External producers may act as "executive producers" and are employed by the game's publisher. Internal producers work for the developer itself and have more of a hands-on role. Some game developers may have no internal producers, however, and may rely solely on the publisher's producer.

For an external producer, their job responsibilities may focus mainly on overseeing several projects being worked on by a number of developers. While keeping updated on the progress of the games being developed externally, they inform the upper management of the publisher of the status of the pending projects and any problems they may be experiencing. If a publisher's producer is overseeing a game being developed internally, their role is more akin to that of an internal producer and will generally only work on one game or a few small games.

As games have grown larger and more expensive, line producers have become part of some teams. Based on filmmaking traditions, Line Producers focus on project scheduling and costing to ensure titles are completed on time and on budget.

Responsibilities

An internal producer is heavily involved in the development of, usually, a single game. Responsibilities for this position vary from company to company, but in general, the person in this position has the following duties:
* Negotiating contracts, including licensing deals
* Acting as a liaison between the development staff and the upper stakeholders (publisher or executive staff)
* Developing and maintaining schedules and budgets
* Overseeing creative (art and design) and technical development (game programming) of the game
* Ensuring timely delivery of deliverables (such as milestones)
* Scheduling timely quality assurance (testing)
* Arranging for beta testing and focus groups, if applicable
* Arranging for localization

In short, the internal producer is ultimately responsible for timely delivery and final quality of the game.

For small games, the producer may interact directly with the programming and creative staff. For larger games, the producer will seek the assistance of the lead programmer, art lead, game designer and testing lead. While it is customary for the producer to meet with the entire development staff from time to time, for larger games, they will only meet with the leads on a regular basis to keep updated on the development status.

For most games, the producer has not a large role but some influence on the development of the game design. While not a game designer, the producer has to weave the wishes of the publisher or upper management into the design. They usually seek the assistance of the game designer in this effort. So the final game design is a result the effort of the designer and some influence of the producer.

In general, the producer is not the "boss" of the people on the game development team, but the "boss" of the game. So while a programmer may answer to a programming director, where matters of the game are involved, they answer to the producer. Producers may issue reprimands or issue accolades, but usually the fate of the developer's employment is not in the hands of the producer. So while they may recommend termination or promotions of certain employees, the producer normally cannot fire or promote team members single-handedly.

Compensation

In general, game producers earn the third most out of game development positions, behind business (marketing/management) and programmers.According to an annual survey of salaries in the industry, producers earn an average of USD$78,716 a year. Producers with less than three years experience earn $62,500 while those with more than 3 and less than six years experience earn an average of $89,184 annually. Executive producers with over six years experience earn an average of $125,000 annually.cite journal
quotes =
last = Fleming
first = Jeffrey
year = 2008
month = April
title = 7th Annual Salary Survey
journal = Game Developer
volume = 15
issue = 4
pages = 7–14
publisher = United Business Media
]

Notable producers

* Mark Cerny ("Jak and Daxter" series, "Spyro the Dragon" series and "Ratchet and Clank")
* Brad Fregger ("Hacker" and numerous others)
* Richard Garriott ("Ultima" series)
* Hideo Kojima ("Metal Gear", "Zone of the Enders")
* Shigeru Miyamoto ("Super Mario 64", "")
* Jade Raymond ("Assassin's Creed")
* Hironobu Sakaguchi ("Final Fantasy" series)
* Bruce Shelley ("Age of Empires")

ee also

*List of video game producers

References

External links

* [http://www.eurocom.co.uk/content/view/101/81/ Producer] at Eurocom


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