What Exactly Are the Main Duties of a Game Producer? (Frank Rogan From Real.com Answers)

I was checking out our Game Producer Forums when I saw a very good question about game producer duties. I exchanged couple of words with Frank Rogan (producer, Real Networks) and wanted to hear his opinion on this.

Here’s what Frank had to say:

Question: What exactly are the main duties of a game producer? What does a producer actually do?

Frank’s answer:

You’ll find that the “main duties” of a game producer will vary widely from company to company, from project to project, from genre to genre. In general, game producers are project or program managers, with lots of design, marketing and PR thrown in for good measure. You’re managing a team, setting production goals, tracking those goals, ensuring the team has the tools it needs to reach those goals, etc. A fun way to look at this question is to think about what goes into making a game that isn’t strictly designing a game mechanic, writing code and making art and audio assets, and realize that literally everything else is potentially a producer’s job.

I must add that I like to describe producers bit like ‘managers’ – to some point at least. Frank puts this very well.

What should an aspiring game producer focus on skill-wise?

Producers come in all shapes and sizes, so there’s no one track to follow. But there are common themes, such as project management skills, business skills, an understanding of QA and marketing/PR.

But being a good producer is not about having a set of skills. Just like being a good digital artist is not just about knowing Photoshop or 3DS Max. Good producers are about leadership skills, having a sense of mission, and being able to execute on large, complicated ideas by breaking them down into smaller, bite-sized chunks of work that can each be followed up on.

I recommend these two books:
Game Producer’s handbook

Game Production Handbook

(I’ve also read that Game Producer’s Handbook several times and also recommend it to any wannabe game producer)

Thanks Frank for this quick Q&A session.

10 thoughts on “What Exactly Are the Main Duties of a Game Producer? (Frank Rogan From Real.com Answers)

  1. Agree the Producer’s rol it is different everywhere, but after 12 yrs working on professional games, have learned there is only 1 role that the Game Producer should be effective in.

    EMPOWER THE TEAM TO DO THEIR JOB. Don’t get in the way; just let professionals do what they’re good at.

    If something is not possible from your view, give feedback and help to make it possible.

    If instead you are a “wanna-be” game director or game designer, try to get those jobs instead; DON’T be a game producer (unless you’re just an asshole).

    To say, the BEST projects, teams and games I’ve worked on all have had producers who understand GAME PRODUCERS WORK _FOR_ THE TEAM, not the other way around.

    Hope this helps any aspiring people…

  2. I’m sure we’ll hear more from Frank in the future too. We’ve been exchanging emails about interviews & questions and stuff for quite some time now.

  3. Good call, it would be great to get a beefier interview from this gentleman, going into specifics about some of the important day to day activities that he has developed over the years.. Specific pitfalls that he has learned to spot and how to mitigate their risk, etc etc.

    Either way good post and thanks for the links

  4. I always accomplished my tasks.
    Leaving Producer and Game Designer happy and satisfied :P

  5. @ Lumooja
    I worked in a big company that create games for mobile… and my post was a joke.
    When a producer or a game designer ask me to do something really difficult I always answer “Ok, let’s try it!”.

    It’s the same for me, but I don’t think I’m the best or something like this…

  6. there is also some psychology involved in the process

  7. The best programmers can do impossible things easily. Actually in my day job, I’m paid to do mostly impossible things, as for the routine things there are cheaper people.

  8. eheheh :P

  9. I have the answer.

    …to bother programmers, asking them to make impossible things come true.