<p>What's the actual physical process getting a gold master to the customer? Who takes the file, in what form, from what computer, to who, to upload to the servers or put on a disc? And who double-checks an online storefront page and makes the thing go live? And how different is this process to pushing out an update?</p>

<p>What’s the actual physical process getting a gold master to the customer? Who takes the file, in what form, from what computer, to who, to upload to the servers or put on a disc? And who double-checks an online storefront page and makes the thing go live? And how different is this process to pushing out an update?</p>

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In the old days, a gold master was the disc containing final code and assets that was burned by the dev studio and sent to the CD pressing plants for duplication, usually via courier or delivery service. It was a physical golden-colored disc that was the master copy that the duplicates would come from, so it was called “gold master”. The factories would duplicate them en masse and then bundle them up and ship them out to distributors and retailers, who put them on the shelves for customers to physically pick up or send them out as packages to be delivered to customers at their homes.

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Nowadays, things are a little different. Gold master is no longer a physical object, it’s just a status for a specific build – everything up to this code repository changelist is in the build. We can submit the build digitally for certification and, pending approval for the finished binaries, what we send to the disc-pressing plants. We also submit the online installation files for the corresponding build to the various digital platforms as well – Steam, EGS, Playstation Store, XBox Store, Apple App Store, Google Play Store, etc. They’re the ones who handle the digital distribution and such. Distributing a digital update uses the exact same channels – the systems allow us to mark a patch as required to play and their systems auto-update the clients who try to play it with the latest patch. 

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For the storefronts and such, most stores have storefront templates that we supply the materials for (e.g. images, text, video, etc.). It is sometimes possible to get special treatment in those cases, but that’s extremely rare (and expensive) – it usually requires both their engineers and ours working together to put up the special custom storefront. Making sure our store pages look correct is up to us, since we’re the ones who upload the assets for it, and it also requires platform blessing before it can go live. The same applies for the final build of the game and any patches we wish to deploy – they generally require an approval/cert process to make sure nothing really weird happens.

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Source: askagamedev
<p>What’s the actual physical process getting a gold master to the customer? Who takes the file, in what form, from what computer, to who, to upload to the servers or put on a disc? And who double-checks an online storefront page and makes the thing go live? And how different is this process to pushing out an update?</p>

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