Working With Game Publishers

By October 10, 2018Game Dev Tips
Working with game publishers

Want to know how to work with game publishers?

If you’re having a hard time making games as a solo indie dev, then finding and landing a deal with the right publisher can be a game-changer. Working with game publishers is one of the best ways to get app downloads and boost your game’s visibility in the App Store. Plus, you don’t have to struggle trying to figure out everything on your own. Publishers handle all the marketing efforts including the release of your game. You create, and they promote.

So, today we’ll share the top tips to follow for finding and working with mobile game publishers. These winning strategies will help you find the best publisher and deal for your upcoming app.


First, let’s talk about where to find them. In this cool episode of Inside the Box, Trey shares the top hyper casual game publishers that he’s worked with and gives some great advice for devs who want to get their game published:

Mobile Game Publishers

Here’s a quick rundown of some popular mobile game publishers that might be worth considering:

The above are just a handful of the mobile game publishers out there that you can partner with to help with your game. Every publisher is different in their marketing approach, preferred game style, payments, requirements, and policy. So, it’s vital that you always do your research before selecting. Try to research them thoroughly. Check out the indie game development forums to see how other devs rate them, read their FAQ section, and reach out directly to their support with any questions. Working with game publishers can be easier than you think, especially if you know the right strategies to use.

How To Research Mobile Game Publishers

The secret to successfully pitching your game to publishers is knowing precisely what they want. You have to research the mobile game publishers you’re considering to find out what trend and game types they prefer. Sending a publisher a 2D retro-style role-playing game when they primarily publish hyper-casual arcade puzzlers will most likely result in rejection. So, research is the key to success.

Here are a few tips on how it’s done!

One of the best tools to use to research mobile game publishers is App Annie. You can sign up for free and access tons of information on not only apps and stats but the publishers as well.

To start your research, choose a publisher that you’d like to investigate. Log in to App Annie and search one of the publisher’s game. Let’s do Ketchapp’s Knife Hit for example. When enter Knife Hit, all of the game’s data will appear on the screen. On the top left corner, you can click on the publisher’s name to view a list of all of their games. This list will feature both iOS and Google Play titles. So, to make things easier, find the publishers tab on the left side panel. Click on it for additional search options. You’ll now have access to a categorized list. Click on iOS or Google Play to view only the titles from that particular App Store. Then sort the list by release date to see their latest games in order.

AppAnnie Research

AppAnnie Research 2 game publishers

AppAnnie Research 3

Research the titles that have been released within the 1-2 months. Try to analyze the list and look for patterns. Are most of them free or paid apps? What type of art style are they using? Is the game in portrait or landscape mode? Then dig deeper. Find out which games are the most successful and create a list of their qualities. Use this list as a guide when you’re designing your game. Researching like this will let you know what’s currently trending with that particular publisher. Most people neglect to do this, so you’ll have a competitive edge when you’re pitching your game.

Making Your Game Publisher Ready

Now that you’ve done your research and know which publishers you’re interested in and the type of games that they’re currently publishing, you can focus on getting your game ready. It’s important to remember never to send a game to a publisher until it’s ‘publisher ready.’ A publisher ready game is one that is completely polished with all the important features that publishers want. Some of these key elements include unique gameplay, incredible graphics, high replay value, and viral potential.

It’s also essential that your game has the style and trend that the publisher is actively seeking. That’s why it’s so important to research mobile game publishers first. When you know their current roster of games and their most successful titles, you’ll have a clear picture of what they want. Don’t submit a game until you think it’s better than what they’ve been previously publishing.

Based on your research, try to design your game with the qualities of their top performing games. Use the model and improve technique to make your game unique but familiar. It’s the secret to game design. Then take the time to add polish to your games and test to be sure it’s free of errors or bugs. Everything should be cohesive and run smoothly. Once you have a unique, polished game that’s publisher ready, submit it. If you’ve done your research and made a great game, then the odds of securing a deal will be in your favor.

Tiana Crump

About Tiana Crump

Tiana Crump is a journalist and social media manager at Buildbox with a passion for inspiring others and driving brand awareness. As a gamer and creator, she enjoys sharing game development insights, tips, and success stories from the Buildbox community.