CREATe is delighted to present the latest in the working paper series for 2023. The paper by Ayşe Gizem Yaşar, Amy Thomas, Kenny Barr and Magali Eben reports on emergent research examining the changing landscape of the contemporary video games sector. This work reflects the authors’ broad range of research interests and specialisms, a characteristic of CREATe’s activities and published output throughout its first ten years. The paper builds upon a number of the themes that emerged at the roundtable discussion of ‘Copyright, Competition and Business Models in App Stores and Gaming’ held to launch the project earlier this year as part of the CREATe@10: Policy Futures Series at the ARC.
In November we will be hosting another roundtable workshop, where the authors of the working paper, along with guest contributors, will further unpack and interrogate aspects of IP law, competition law, innovation, and industry structure in the rapidly evolving games sector. More details on this event and how you can participate will follow shortly.
In the meantime, the full paper can be downloaded here.
This working paper examines aspects of the contemporary video games sector at a time when incumbent and new-entrant market participants vie for primacy in the games industry. In this setting, ownership configurations and business models of key actors are in a state of flux. As consumers increasingly access culture ‘on-demand’ by way of cloud technologies, myriad opportunities and challenges emerge, not only for the video games sector, but for the wider cultural industries and society as a whole. It is in this very dynamic industrial landscape that the working paper is located.
The paper marks a starting point for collaborative research on the games industry, drawing on the range of expertise within CREATe to provide a more holistic view of innovation, creativity, and power dynamics in games. The authors draw on different research specialisms and interests including: digitalisation of the cultural industries; copyright and notions of user creativity; digital services and product market definition; and competition law, innovation and the role of technology. The paper draws on each of these specialisms in turn. It starts by providing the industrial context of the discussion and analysis. This feeds into three analytical sections examining: user creativity and intellectual property in video games; the implications of industry concentration for different articulations of creativity; and finally, an exploration of the potential ramifications of developments in the games sector for innovation at the dawn of the metaverse era.
In doing so, this work sets the scene for future research, which brings together competition law, IP law, and cultural policy perspectives. With questions formulated throughout the paper, the authors embark on a project to review the changing landscape of gaming and its implications for creativity, innovation, access and integration.