Shifting business models in the electronic gaming industry - from publisher backing to co-creation and crowdfunding
by Thomas Wolfgang Thurner; Melina Kristin Kroenert; Adrian Goersch
International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management (IJEIM), Vol. 23, No. 3, 2019

Abstract: The electronic gaming industry is in a process of massive change from publisher-based to artist-led-distribution. Still, insights into how this shift of paradigm plays out are largely absent from the academic literature. This paper studies the changing business model in the electronic gaming industry on the example of the game Rouge Stormers by the German indie game developer Black Forest Games. The studio worked on their title from 2006 to the present day during a time of far-reaching changes in the electronic game industry. The move-over to the new business reality led through turbulent times as publishers struggled to commercialise their projects and many went bankrupt. Also the technological change led to fading interests in consoles and required adjustments. The crowdfunding platform kickstarter was an entry point, but a previously failed project scared off potential publishers. Also, funding for the entire development process is impossible to acquire as the required capital is too high. A combination of crowdfunding with early access, a platform that specialises on early commercialisation of games, proved successful. The paper demonstrates that the paradigm shift especially for small game developers is a messy trial-and-error process that threatens their very existence.

Online publication date: Wed, 15-May-2019

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