The role of the publishers

Publishers play an important role in the games industry. They publish and market games and invest in projects and games developers.

Publishers can help you with everything from advice and management of the game development process, financing and distribution to marketing of the game via various channels. 

In order to publicise a game, publishers buy advertising and contact the media.

As the opportunities for publicising a game digitally improve, new types of publishers emerge. These publishers can help you to reach out directly to gamers via communities, blogs, YouTube and other social media. They usually focus on games in the lower price band. 

What can a publisher provide help with? 

  • Financing of game production.
  • Marketing.
  • Expertise and know-how.
  • Product development.
  • Support for a product plan.

What does a publisher usually require? 

  • That all copyright to the game is transferred to the publisher.
  • Options to finance and publish follow-up games (known as sequels) if the games developer is to retain the copyright to the game.
  • Creative control and right of determination concerning the game’s design, age classification, production plan, approval of interim deliveries and marketing.
  • All revenues from the game until your company has recouped its game development and marketing costs (after then, the revenues will be distributed according to an individual royalty system).

When you contact a publisher, choose one which: 

  • specialises in the type of game you are developing. Publishers often specialise in mobile games, PC games or console games and have an in-depth knowledge of their niche.
  • have a knowledge of the right marketplace, such as App Store, Google, Google Play or Steam.
  • has the best knowledge of the geographic market which suits your game. has a good reputation in the industry (contact other games developers which the publisher has worked with previously for recommendations).

Things to consider when signing an agreement with a publisher: 

  • Read the entire agreement.
  • What are you willing to give up in order to obtain financing for your game? (Copyright, creative control, income distribution?)
  • Contact a specialist independent lawyer and discuss the agreement you are considering signing.
  • All agreements can be negotiated to some extent. Dare to question and suggest changes.
  • Never sign anything you do not fully understand.
“Ownership of the trademark is the most important thing of all. Historically, we in the games industry have not been very good at retaining the trademarks we have created,” says Pim Holfve. 

Pim Holfve, CEO of Avalanche Studios explains how he sees the role of publishers. 

The information given on this page will increase your awareness of the importance of intellectual property rights in the games industry. We recommend you contact a legal expert for advice and tips regarding what will apply to your particular business.