An Insight into the UK Computer Games Market
Games Packaging & Submissions process – According to UKEI (The Association for UK Interactive Entertainment) the UK computer games market was worth a record £4.33bn in 2016, which is huge business for games publishers, large and small. All you need to know when it comes to Games Packaging & Submissions processes.
For those of you unfamiliar with the videogame industry, to safeguard and not to mislead the consumer, games publishers are required to adhere to strict regulations in relation to the game itself and the packaging it comes in. These guidelines are specified by Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo (often referred to as 1st parties) and having been in the industry for almost 17 years, you could say I know a thing or two about games packaging templates and submissions.
So…. you’re a games publisher, have an amazing game you want to release and have all the relevant software and templates to create your packaging. You could create all the packaging yourself, right? How hard can it be? Well…. you’d be surprised. Over the years I’ve found that the templates change on a fairly regular basis, as new features are added and old features are customised. Familiarising yourself with said templates and the process of submitting artwork to 1st parties is a bit of an art form; one we have fine-tuned and perfected over many years.
Now, the question you might ask yourself is, why should I get an agency to create the packaging for me and do the submissions on my behalf? The short answer would be because we know what we are doing! Good working relationships take time to develop and nurture; so much so that we were recommended recently to publisher by a 1st party to help them with their artwork and submissions. This is high praise indeed, as it shows we are not only adhering tightly to the specifications supplied but delivering the best quality artwork and processes that can be expected, making 1st party’s job just that little bit smoother and easier.
Over the years I have seen publishers and games consoles come and go but the constant has always been the rigorous approvals process the packaging goes through. All elements of the packaging has to be approved by 1st parties before you can manufacture the game, print the packaging and release your game to the consumer.
In a nutshell – Games Packaging & Submissions process:
- Using the templates supplied by 1st parties the English sku/packaging is set up, including disc or cartridge labels
- All elements then go through approvals with the publisher – they will check copyrights are correct, their publisher logo is in place, the correct age rating has been used, barcode, product codes and any other relevant information
- Once approved by the publisher these elements are then submitted to 1st parties for checking and feedback – this is usually in line with when the game code goes into testing with 1st parties
- While this process is happening all other language skus should be set up
- Feedback from 1st parties usually takes a few days and once received, any amends should be made and the relevant elements resubmitted
- All feedback to the English sku should then be applied to all other language skus and approved by the publisher
- Once 1st parties have approved the English sku, all other languages can then be submitted
- In theory, if you have done all the amends correctly across all languages, these should all pass first time, in theory! (Don’t you just love theories?)
- If by chance you do get feedback, amends should be made and the relevant elements resubmitted to 1st parties
- By the end of this process all elements will be approved by both 1st parties and the publisher and can be sent to print
While all the packaging is being approved, the code for the game itself will be going through approvals with 1st parties and age rating boards to make sure it is in a fit state to be released to the consumer.
As you can see, the process above is fairly straightforward but if you are new to the games industry and not familiar with the systems it can be quite daunting learning the various submissions processes for each 1st party. This is where we come in – we are already an approved agency for these systems and processes, so why not give us a call or drop us an email and see how we can help you and your projects – you’ll be glad you did!
To see examples of our games packaging design and submissions work, take a look at the Aliens Colonial Marines and Castlevania Lords of Shadow case studies. If you want any help with games packaging design or guidance relating to videogame submissions just have a chat with us, we’d be happy to help.
Written by Jayshree Mistry – An.X Agency Ltd