A video game developer is a software developer (a business or an individual) that creates computer or video games. A developer may specialize in a certain video game system, such as the Microsoft Xbox, Nintendo GameCube, or the Sony PlayStation 2 or may develop for a variety of systems including PCs.
Developers also specialize in certain types of games, such as RPGs (Role Playing Games) or FPSs (First Person Games). Some focus on porting games from one system to another. Some focus on translating games from one language to another, especially from Japanese to English; an unusual few do other kinds of software development work in addition to games.
Most video game publishing companies, such as Electronic Arts, Activision and Sony, maintain development studios, but these companies are generally called “publishers” and not “developers”, as publishing is the primary activity of these companies, and is the source of most of their income.
Other than the publishers, there are well over 1,000 video game development companies today. Many are tiny 1- or 2-person operations creating Flash games for the Web, or games for cell phones. Others are large companies with multiple locations, such as Foundation 9 Entertainment, which says it has over 300 employees. As a rule, developers are privately held companies; only a very few non-publishing developers have ever been publicly traded companies.