Video game publisher

A video game publisher is a company that publishes video games that have been developed either internally by the publisher or externally by a video game developer.
They often finance the development, sometimes by paying a video game developer and sometimes by paying an internal staff of developers called a studio. The large video game publishers also distribute the games they publish, while some smaller publishers instead hire distribution companies to distribute the games they publish. Other functions usually performed by the publisher include deciding on and paying for any licenses used by the game; paying for localization; layout, printing, and possibly the writing of the user manual; and the creation of graphic design elements such as the box design. Some large publishers with vertical structure also own publishing subsidiaries.
Large publishers may also attempt to boost efficiency across all internal and external development teams by providing services such as sound design and code packages for commonly needed functionality.
Because the publisher often finances development, it usually tries to manage development risk with a staff of producers or project managers to monitor the progress of the developer, critique ongoing development, and assist as necessary. Most video games created by an external video game developer are paid for with periodic advances on royalties. These advances are paid when the developer reaches certain stages of development, called milestones.

Business risks

Video game publishing is associated with high risk:
Numerous video game publishers are traded publicly on stock markets. As a group, they have had mixed performance. At present, Electronic Arts is the only third-party publisher present in the S&P 500 diversified list of large U.S. corporations; in April 2010, it entered the Fortune 500 for the first time.
Hype over video game publisher stocks has been breathless at two points:

Major publishers

Below are the largest publishers in general according to their revenue in billions of dollars as of 2017.
2017Name of PublisherRevenue in $bn
1 Tencent Games18.2
2 Sony Interactive Entertainment10.5
3 Apple8.0
4 Microsoft7.1
5 Activision Blizzard6.5
6 NetEase5.6
7 Google5.3
8 EA5.1
9 Nintendo3.6
10 Bandai Namco2.4

In 2016, the largest public companies by game revenue were Tencent, with, followed by Sony, with, and Activision Blizzard, with, according to Newzoo.

Mid-size publishers

Below are the top AA video game publishers, ranked by Metacritic in January 2014 based on game quality according to reviews. These lists are based on the ranking by best to worst publishers according to metacritic's website. Note that two major publishers, Take-Two Interactive and Sega fell to mid-size and one, Square Enix, jumped from mid-size to major. Three mid-size publishers ranked in 2013 were dropped from 2014 chart, namely Xseed Games and Kalypso Media. No iOS games were included in the figures.
2014 PositionName of Publisher2013 Position
1 Telltale Games
2 Paradox Interactive4
3 Capcom2
4 Take-Two Interactive
5 Sega
6 Zen Studios
7 Devolver Digital
8 Konami1
9 Slitherine Strategies
10 NIS America8
11 Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment3
12 Koei Tecmo7
13 Atlus6
14 505 Games5
15 Aksys Games
16 Deep Silver9
17 Focus Home Interactive10