Job Overview: Video Game Producer

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Game production really is an art form zerojay / flickr

Game production really is an art form.

Related jobs: Associate Producer, Production Assistant

Every team needs to have a person who helps guide them and focus them, so they can concentrate on doing great work. For a game team, that person is the Producer. They’re responsible for the daily planning and management of the team. At some studios, they’re also responsible for shepherding the “vision” of the game.

On a given day as a Producer, you’ll do things like:

  • Meet with your game team to plan and schedule work to be done in the near future (usually the next 2 to 3 weeks, called a “sprint” or “milestone”)
  • Check in with people on your team to make sure they aren’t stuck, and help them get whatever they need to be productive
  • Talk with various people who are not on the team but have a stake in the project — studio directors, publishers, marketing department, etc.
  • Maintain budgets, negotiate contracts, order food and supplies for the team

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To be a successful Producer, you need to have great planning skills and be a good communicator. It helps a lot if you’re good with numbers, since you may be managing budgets and other expenses.

There are many ways to start your career as a producer. Producers often get their start as Game Testers, where they can learn all about making games before moving onto a team as an Associate Producer. Many game studios also have openings for associate producers or production assistants, which is another good way to get started.

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Image: zerojay / flickr

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2 comments on “Job Overview: Video Game Producer
  1. Jack Chandler says:

    Hey Jason,

    Another awesome guide! I was just wondering what the salary for a video game producer was like. I’m weighing up this, programming or design. Sometimes having so much choice is a real pain!

    In regards to a career in programming, is this diploma relevant in any way?http://goo.gl/sSpQDQ In career opportunities at the bottom it says game design/developer. Can developer and programmer be used interchangeably?

    Many thanks,

    Jack

    • Jason W. Bay says:

      Thanks, Jack! I don’t know anything about that Career Kickstarter course, you should definitely do some research to find out whether it’s an accredited university and whether people who graduated went on to get jobs in the game industry. LinkedIn might be a good place to look for that information.

      Producer salaries start at around $60,000 per year, and can make a lot more as they gain experience and success.

      “Developer” and “programmer” can be used interchangeably. But “game developer” is also sometimes used as a general word for anybody who makes games, so it can be confusing.

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