Video game producer

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A video game producer is the person in charge of overseeing development of a video game. [1] [2]

Video game electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a video device such as a TV screen or computer monitor

A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a two- or three-dimensional video display device such as a TV screen, virtual reality headset or computer monitor. Since the 1980s, video games have become an increasingly important part of the entertainment industry, and whether they are also a form of art is a matter of dispute.

Contents

History

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. Hawkins said in 1983:

Trip Hawkins American businessman

William Murray "Trip" Hawkins III is an American entrepreneur and founder of Electronic Arts, The 3DO Company, and Digital Chocolate.

Electronic Arts American interactive entertainment company

Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) is an American video game company headquartered in Redwood City, California. It is the second-largest gaming company in the Americas and Europe by revenue and market capitalization after Activision Blizzard and ahead of Take-Two Interactive and Ubisoft as of March 2018.

Producers basically manage the relationship with the artist. They find the talent, work out product deals, get contracts signed, manage them, and bring them to their conclusion. The producers do most of the things that a product manager does. They don't do the marketing, which in some cases product managers do. They don't make decisions about packaging and merchandising, but they do get involved ... they're a little like book editors, a little bit like film producers, and a lot like product managers. [3]

Sierra On-Line's 1982 computer game Time Zone may be the first to list credits for "Producer" and "Executive Producer". [4] As of late 1983 Electronic Arts had five producers: A product marketer and two others from Hawkins' former employer Apple ("good at working with engineering people"), one former IBM salesman and executive recruiter, and one product marketer from Automated Simulations; [3] it popularized the use of the title in the industry. [4] Hawkins' 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. Activision made Brad Fregger their first producer in April 1983.

Jerome S. "Jerry" Moss is an American recording executive, best known for being the co-founder of A&M Records, along with trumpeter and bandleader Herb Alpert.

Record producer Individual who oversees and manages the recording of an artists music

A record producer or music producer oversees and manages the sound recording and production of a band or performer's music, which may range from recording one song to recording a lengthy concept album. A producer has many, varying roles during the recording process. They may gather musical ideas for the project, collaborate with the artists to select cover tunes or original songs by the artist/group, work with artists and help them to improve their songs, lyrics or arrangements.

A&M Records American historical record label

A&M Records was an American record label founded as an independent company by Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss in 1962. Due to the success of the discography A&M released, the label garnered interest and was acquired by PolyGram in 1989 and began distributing releases from Polydor Ltd. from the UK. Throughout its operations, A&M housed well-known acts such as Joe Cocker, Procol Harum, Captain & Tennille, Sting, Sergio Mendes, Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Supertramp, Bryan Adams, Burt Bacharach, Liza Minnelli, The Carpenters, Paul Williams, Janet Jackson, Cat Stevens, Peter Frampton, Elkie Brooks, Carole King, Styx, Extreme, Amy Grant, Joan Baez, the Human League, The Police, CeCe Peniston, Blues Traveler, Soundgarden, Duffy and Sheryl Crow.

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 video 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 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.

A video game developer is a software developer that specializes in video game development – the process and related disciplines of creating video games. A game developer can range from one person who undertakes all tasks to a large business with employee responsibilities split between individual disciplines, such as programming, design, art, testing, etc. Most game development companies have video game publisher financial and usually marketing support. Self-funded developers are known as independent or indie developers and usually make indie games.

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.

For an internal producer, associate producers tend to specialize in an area of expertise depending on the team they are producing for and what skills they have a background in. These specializations include but are not limited to: programming, design, art, sound, and quality assurance. A normal producer is usually the project manager and is in charge of delivering the product to the publisher on time and on budget. [2] An executive producer will be managing all of the products in the company and making sure that the games are on track to meet their goals and stay within the company's goals and direction.

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: [1] [2]

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. [2] In smaller studios, a producer may fill any slack in the production team by doing the odd job of writing the game manual or producing game assets. [1]

For most games, the producer does not have a large role but does have some influence on the development of the video 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. [2]

Compensation

In general, video 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$75,000 annually. A video game producer with less than 3 years of experience makes, on average, around $55,000 annually. A video game producer with more than 6 years of experience makes, on average, over $125,000 annually. The salaries of a video game producer will vary depending on the region and the studio. [5]

Education

Most video game producers complete a bachelor's degree program in game design, computer science, digital media or business. Popular computer programming languages for video game development include C, C++, Assembly, C# and Java. Some common courses are communications, mathematics, accounting, art, digital modeling and animation.[ citation needed ]

Employers typically require three plus years of experience, since a producer has to have gone through the development cycle several times to really understand how unpredictable the business is. The most common path to becoming a video game producer begins by first working as a game tester, then moving up the quality assurance ladder, and then eventually on to production. This is easier to accomplish if one stays with the same studio, reaping the benefits of having built relationships with the production department.[ citation needed ]

See also

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References

  1. 1 2 3 McKay, Brett; McKay, Kate (September 29, 2010). "So You Want My Job: Video Game Producer". The Art of Manliness. Retrieved May 30, 2014.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 "What Does a Video Game Producer Do? (with pictures)". WiseGeek.com. Retrieved May 30, 2014.
  3. 1 2 Lemmons, Phil; Robertson, Barbara (October 1983). "Shaping Consumer Software". BYTE. p. 94. Retrieved 30 January 2015.
  4. 1 2 Maher, Jimmy (2015-04-16). "Defender of the Crown". The Digital Antiquarian. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
  5. "Top Gaming Studios, Schools & Salaries". Big Fish Games