The video game industry’s relationship between developers and indie game publishers is essential. Game developers create the games that players love, while game publishers handle the marketing, distribution, and financial aspects of releasing those games to the public. This blog post will explore how the game developer/game publisher model works and each party’s role in creating and releasing a game. We know something about it because for the past few years we are actively supporting game developers in publishing their games as Mill Games.

Game developers are the creative minds behind video games. They are responsible for designing and developing the gameplay, characters, and storylines that make up a game. This process can be long and complex, involving specialized software and tools to create various game elements. Publishers may help them in this process by giving third-party feedback and often many Quality Assurance sessions that will find bugs in the game and prepare the whole.

Game Developer way of working

Game developers may work in-house at a game studio, or they may be independent developers working on their own. In either case, they typically have a team of designers, programmers, artists, and other specialists working together to create the game.

Indie Game Publisher responsibilities and services.

Once a game is in development, the developer may work with a publisher to release the game to the public. The indie game publisher handles the marketing, distribution, and financial aspects of releasing the game. This can include tasks such as localization (adapting the game for different regions and languages), promotion (advertising and public relations efforts to raise awareness of the game), and distribution (coordinating the availability of the game through retailers and digital platforms).

The game publisher may also provide financial support to the game developer, helping to fund the game’s development and ensure its completion. In return, the Publisher typically receives a percentage of the sales revenue from the game.

The relationship between game developers and game publishers can take various forms. Some developers may self-publish their games, handling all marketing and distribution tasks. In other cases, developers may work with a publisher on a project-by-project basis. The Publisher supports a specific game and receives a share of the sales revenue.

There are also many game publishers, ranging from large companies with multiple studios and a wide variety of games to smaller independent publishers focused on specific games or genres.

The game developer/publisher model is vital in the video game industry. Game developers create the games that players love, while game publishers help bring them to a broader audience and ensure their profitability. These two groups help create the dynamic and diverse video game landscape we enjoy today.

What are the relevant terms when You decide to work with the Publisher?

There are several terms that you may need to consider. These terms may vary depending on the specific agreement and negotiation between you and the Publisher, but here are some common words:

Royalties: This refers to the percentage of revenue you, as the developer, will receive from the game sales. This percentage can vary depending on the agreement and may be negotiable and also from the budget invested in the project. Mill Games always wants to play fair and give developers revenue from day one. But the Rev share is always linked with the project’s progress. If we sign the agreement at the beginning of the development, the Publisher will have a bigger rev-share. If the project is almost completed, then the Rev-share will be more prominent for game developers.

Advance: This is an upfront payment the Publisher may offer you before the game is released. This can help cover development costs and provide some financial security.

Intellectual property ownership: It is essential to clarify who owns the intellectual property rights to the game, including the code, art, music, and other assets. In Mill Games, we always want IP stays. Yours!

Distribution rights: The Publisher typically has the exclusive right to distribute the game through specific channels/platforms, such as digital storefronts (Steam, Gog, Epic, Nintendo, Playstation, Xbox…) or retail outlets.

Marketing and promotion: The Publisher may have certain expectations for the marketing and promotion of the game, which may include specific launch events, advertising campaigns, or other promotional activities. The game developer and us always decide the budget for this purpose.

If the project is not completed, we need to decide about the Development milestones: The agreement may specify certain milestones that must be reached before payments are made, or the game is released.

Termination and cancellation: The agreement should include provisions for termination and cancellation, which may be triggered by various events such as missed deadlines or breaches of the contract.

Non-disclosure and confidentiality: It is common for the agreement to include non-disclosure and confidentiality provisions to protect any confidential or proprietary information exchanged between the parties.

If You want to know more about how we are working, please reach us on a call!

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Mill Games S.A.
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00-526 Warszawa