A game producer oversees a video game's development, from concept to shipping. A game producer's role can vary greatly among different companies, but he is generally responsible for leading and organizing multiple projects, coordinating departments, maintaining a budget and making sure a project stays on schedule. They also act as liaisons between game developers and publishers.
Scheduling, Testing, Marketing Duties
Game producers organize the developers, tasks and assets within a project and ensure adherence to a schedule they have created according to the publisher's specifications. If the project is not going smoothly or not meeting its targets, the game producer is expected to resolve the issues or rework the schedule. Producers also may be expected to arrange for the testing of a game. Experienced producers also may negotiate contracts and licensing deals and be involved in the marketing process.
Internal game producers are expected to be hands-on in development, working alongside the developers within a company. External producers are often employed as contractors for smaller companies and may manage more than one game at a time. They are expected to communicate with internal producers and relay information about the project to the publishers.
Multiple Career Paths
An assistant, or junior, producer is considered the entry point. Junior producers perform daily tasks assigned by the producers. Career-progression routes include becoming a project manager, who is primarily concerned with scheduling and budgets, or a team lead, who works primarily with the developers on a project. A small game-development company may employ only one game producer to manage every aspect of development, while a larger company may employ a number of specialized producers.
According to Game Career Guide, producers tend to be promoted from positions as game developers; 49 percent of game producers have six or more years in the industry. Producers who don't have experience in the games industry typically must demonstrate project-management skills in addition to verbal and written communication skills. Taking a game-related course such as computer science, art, animation or game design also may offer an advantage. Game producers should be highly organized and motivated, and good leadership skills are essential. They must remain calm under pressure and resolve conflicts or problems.
Gamasutra, a website for game designers, developers and programmers, reports that the average salary for developers was $84,337 in 2012. The jobs website Indeed maintains that a game producer in San Francisco earned an annual salary of $265,000 as of June 2014.
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