Developers vs. Publishers: Who Wins?

In the latest episode of Game Theory with Scott Steinberg, entitled “Video Game Developers vs. Publishers: Who Wins?” we take a closer look at the state of the modern games industry. Exploring the shifting balance of power following in the wake of new business models, gaming devices and online technologies, the new documentary film also examines whether there’s a place for independent developers in today’s increasingly cutthroat business world.

In the movie, we take a detailed look at the current reality of game development and publishing, including how increasingly competitive market conditions are utterly transforming the gaming industry. Scrutinizing the challenges of next-generation game creation going forward, difficulties of competing with industry titans and what it takes to survive in today’s increasingly harsh retail climate, gaming’s biggest names debate the changing nature of the business – and shifting scale of risk vs. reward.

Featuring commentary by industry leaders such as Lionhead Studios founder Peter Molyneux, Gaikai CEO David Perry and LittleBigPlanet co-creator Alex Evans, the piece also includes commentary by storied names such as Oddworld inventor Lorne Lanning and Sensible Software/Tower Studios co-founder Jon Hare. We trust you’ll enjoy viewing it as much as we did filming the video.

About Scott Steinberg
Scott Steinberg is CEO of strategic consulting and product testing firm TechSavvy Global, and a noted keynote speaker and business expert. Hailed as a top tech expert and parenting guru by critics from USA Today to NPR, he’s also an on-air analyst for ABC, CBS and CNN.


  1. Thanks for the wonderful interviews. As one of the growing number of indie game devs who are starting to dream a little bigger than throw-away apps, I find it encouraging that some devs think there may be room in the mid range for games budgets. The age-old dichotomy of no-budget and giant budget is perhaps expanding to include a larger range of game types. As the “race to the bottom” for prices scares off some of us, others will perhaps grab hold of the service model for game dev – where all games cost $0 (with IAP) and development never really ends. My humble opinion is that this is the “sweet spot” for indie game devs. Keep up the great work!

  2. i’m a superstar and no one knows it . and what the epic dude said is true. 🙂 ..and the odd world guy for sure. (who got the money/who did the work)… the english guy is correct but wrong in the time given, look twenty years back not 10.
    i don’t think the market is so over-saturated just controlled by bullies and aspiring bullies… so marginalizing yeah. you’re either in with the in-crowd or trying to get in.

    smaller platforms like the iphone?! thats a huge platform.

    can a AAA title be a kleenex/throw-away game?

    great video and the answers to the next questions are “they arent” , “they can’t”, and “it isn’t”… unless of course you’re under the umbrella, then you wouldn’t need an “in” in the first place.

  3. Another thought-provoking piece… always amuses me (I’ve been in “business” for 30 years) when people seem to be surprised by change. The pace of change itself is accelerating. People will always get caught out by change – the ones that learn, adapt etc are the ones that survive.

    Now I am indeed an independent developer (apparently we are too “big” and “succesful” to be “indie”, but wtv) – who has the traditional and required dislike of the meg-publishers. But do the math: the likes of EA, Activision and friends roll out, what, couple hundred games a year? Of those, maybe 10% make a profit – the rest get trashed. So – are they risk-averse? No, they’re not – they are spending money like water, throwing things against the wall to see what sticks – and when one does, they’ll call it “Call of Honorcraft” and roll out 17 sequels. But that is their way to weed out the profitable IPs. I don’t have to like it – and we certainly can’t emulate it – you need very deep pockets to be able to operate like that!

    No idea where I was going with that ramble 🙂


  4. Great videos!
    But please make the editing less frenetic! The content is already interesting. You dont need all those glitches and blips to make it look “cool”! 🙂
    Anyways, thanks for the videos!

  5. nice to see the media step in to highlight at least a few individuals. more please.

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