In this article, I am going to talk about game publishing: who is a game publisher, does your free-to-play game need one, what do publishers do in general, and what you need to successfully pitch your game.

Who is a game publisher?

A publisher is a company that publishes, promotes, and markets its own games or games made by a third-party developer.

  1. the role of a consultant: it gives possible options for the development and says when and what metrics to pay attention to;
  2. and the key role is a mentor. The publisher can give the team the whole market review, form expectations about at what point the product is ready to scale, what is in store for the company, and suggest which way to look further.

Does your free-to-play game need a publisher?

The general answer is “yes, it does”. If you need more audience, then you need a publisher. You don’t need it only in the following cases:

  1. If you make it for a small established community and there is no chance that someone else might be interested in your game.
  2. If you launch on Apple Arcade. This service by Apple does all the promotion and co-funding of games. If you want to release your game on Apple Arcade then it is better to do it by yourself, without the publisher’s support. Although Apple hand-picks games, it’s easy to get there. Yet in the future, we may see some publishers specializing on Apple Arcade only.

What do publishers do?

It’s been a long time since publishers have manufactured physical discs with games and advertised them in game journals. In the age of digital distribution, they are delivered through simple downloading and publisher’s work shifted towards more complicated tasks, like:

  • Analytics
  • Work with community
  • Technical support
  • Ad campaigns management
  • Ad monetization

How to pitch your game to a publisher?

It’s easy and difficult at the same time. The only thing you need to do is to make a game that has good metrics (acquisition cost, LTV, Retention).

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