A game publisher is a company that publishes videogames that they have either developed internally or have had developed by a video game developer. Publishers are responsible for manufacturing and marketing games, including market research and all aspects of advertising, often financing development. The large video game publishers also distribute the games they publish, while some smaller publishers instead hire distribution companies (or larger video game publishers) to distribute the games they publish.
Other functions usually performed by the publisher include deciding on and paying for any license that the game may utilize; 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.
On occasion, partnerships between publishers and independent developers have gone sour. In 2009, Activision Blizzard suspended funding for Brutal Legend after developer Double Fine Productions repeatedly missed stringent deadlines and went over budget. Retaining the rights to the game, Double Fine sought a new publisher and, after finding one in Electronic Arts, was sued by Activision. Double Fine creative director Tim Schafer responded, "Hey, if Activision liked it, then they should have put a ring on it."1