A note about the research approach
It has been proposed, by respondents and the press, that Swedish video game developers are particularly successful and stand out in international comparison. Efforts will be made to validate this proposition. What is certain, however, is that the industry has had a spectacular development making it the fastest growing sector in Sweden. Yearly growth rates as high as 70% are, in all comparison, remarkable, motivating in-depth research on underlying factors that can inform practitioners and policy makers alike.
The idea for the project is straightforward:
- First the success of the Swedish game developers will be evaluated. In essence, is Sweden better than other countries at producing video games, or is the growth the result of normal performance on a market with extreme demand growth?
- Second, if Swedish game developers are unusually good it must mean that they are more skilled at mastering the industry key success factors (KSF). Industry KSFs are the few but highly critical issues firms must handle well in order to come out as winners, in contrast to other issues that only need to be met at a ‘hygiene’ level. Therefore the KSF for video games must be identified.
- The third step is to uncover the strategies Swedish firms use to handle the KSFs, thereby explaining the reasons to their success. In this step it is important to include all kinds of game projects, not only the highly successful ones. Otherwise there is a risk that some strategies are mistakenly linked to success, even though they sometimes have led to failure, because the less successful cases were omitted from the study (a kind of survival bias).
- Forth, the patterns of the firms’ actions need to be linked to industry factors and the emergence of capabilities and circumstances that made it all possible. This involves evaluating the industry in terms of its technical innovation systems, including driving forces and obstacles.
- The final step is to extract recommendations for practitioners and policy makers from the findings.
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