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External Producer

Industries:
Games
Personality type:
Entrepreneur
Departments:
Production

The lowdown

  • Ensuring the successful delivery of a game, while working externally from the game development team
  • Making sure the publisher has all the relevant information required to make the game as commercially successful as possible

Is this role right for me?

To do this role, you will need to:

  • have a clear understanding of the role and requirements of a game publishing company and a game development company
  • understand the development and publishing processes from a game's design phase through to its release
  • have solid project management skills including scheduling, budget and risk management 
  • have a passion for games
  • be able to handle multiple projects at the same time
  • have excellent communication and presentation skills
  • be able to manage people, time and resources
  • have good negotiation skills
  • have knowledge of the requirements of the relevant health and safety legislation and procedures

What does an External Producer do?

The External Producer is responsible for ensuring the successful delivery of a game, while working externally from the development team.

External Producers are almost always employed by a game publisher. Working out of the publisher's head office, they liaise between the publisher's sales and marketing departments and the game developer, which may be located hundreds of miles away.

The External Producer works closely with the game's internal producer, who is part of the on-site development team. While the internal producer focuses on the staff management tasks of getting a game finished on time and on budget, the External Producer is concerned with broader issues.

The External Producer is like a consultant, advising the game developer instead of dealing with day-to-day problems. Their responsibility is best described as ensuring the publisher has all the relevant information required to make the game as commercially successful as possible.

This can involve anything from co-ordinating the release of screenshots and demo disks with the game's marketing manager, to handling the outsourcing of audio, cut scenes or language localisation with the developer's internal producer, and running focus tests on early versions of the game.

In addition, the External Producer will act as the developer's go-between with the publisher with regard to interim payments or major changes to the game's design or appearance.

Will I need a qualification?

You don’t need a formal qualification to be an External Producer. That said, most External Producers are graduates, with common areas of study including visual and technical arts.

You must be able to demonstrate a track record gained by having been involved in every stage of a project. You will also need to have experience at a senior level of game development. You should have a good knowledge of project management software.

What’s the best route in?

There is no set route for you to follow in becoming an External Producer, but it is not an entry-level role. You will usually need to have over five years’ experience in games development, and will have worked on several commercially available titles.

One common progression route you could follow is through more junior positions in the production department such as Assistant Producer, Producer or Project Manager.

Alternatively, you could come from outside the games industry, having a number of years’ production experience in industries such as TV, film, web development or publishing.

You could apply to be a Games Trainee through Trainee Finder, which gives you hands-on experience in the industry and helps you build those all important contacts that are essential when competing for a job:

More information about Trainee Finder

Interested? Find out more...

Websites

  • 3DWorld - the magazine for SFX, TV production and game development artists 
  • BECTU - the UK's media and entertainment trade union, covering broadcasting, film, independent production, theatre and the arts, leisure and digital media
  • Develop - the monthly magazine for European developers 
  • e-Skills UK - the Sector Skills Council for IT, Telecoms and Contact Centres
  • Edge - the UK's self-styled bible for UK gamers
  • Eurogamer - European-focused consumer website
  • Gamasutra - website founded in 1997 that focuses on all aspects of video game development
  • GameDev.net - online community for game developers of all levels
  • GamesIndustry.biz - covering breaking news from the game's business
  • IGDA - the International Game Developers Association, a global network of collaborative projects and communities comprising individuals from all fields of game development
  • IGN - internet media and services provider focused on the video game, entertainment men’s lifestyle markets
  • MCV - the weekly trade magazine of the UK games industry, 
  • TIGA - the Independent Games Developers Trade Association - non-profit trade association representing the UK's games industry
  • Ukie - the Association for UK Interactive Entertainment - champions the interests, needs and positive image of the video games and interactive entertainment industry whose companies make up its membership

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