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Digital internationalization of SMEs: A phenomenon-based study on the video game industry
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Business Studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4201-932X
2022 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Description
Abstract [en]

Digital technologies, platforms, and infrastructure have changed how business is conducted in many industries. In particular, digital platforms have evolved as a facilitator of internationalization of small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This phenomenon can also be observed in the video game industry, where digital giant firms have elaborated themselves by building multi-sided platforms, where game developers and users interact with each other.

This thesis sets out to investigate three phenomena in relation to the digital internationalization of SMEs in that industry, which are distinctive to the video game industry. These phenomena are the prevalence of born global firms, online community engagement, and the digital platforms in the industry. A literature review on digital internationalization served as a theoretical starting point. Furthermore, a pragmatic research approach led to various research methods investigating the three stated phenomena. The methods applied in this thesis comprised interviewing founders of small-sized game development firms, conducting a netnography in an online community, and analyzing data from structured survey interviews from 176 Swedish video game development projects by conducting structural equation modeling (SEM).    

The overall findings of this thesis reveal a new type of digital platforms that are lifting this industry into further heights, an interesting interplay of SME game developers and digital giants owning the significant platforms in the industry. Moreover, the findings highlight an extraordinary level of interaction between game developers and their online communities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Department of Business Studies , 2022. , p. 90
Series
Doctoral thesis / Företagsekonomiska institutionen, Uppsala universitet, ISSN 1103-8454 ; 218
Keywords [en]
digital internationalization, digital economy, video game industry, digital platforms, online community engagement, born global firms
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-486955ISBN: 978-91-506-2976-7 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-486955DiVA, id: diva2:1705069
Public defence
2022-12-09, Hörsal 2, Ekonomikum, Kyrkogårdsgatan 10, Uppsala, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2022-11-17 Created: 2022-10-20 Last updated: 2022-11-17
List of papers
1. Digital internationalization: A bibliometric review
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Digital internationalization: A bibliometric review
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The field of international business research is in a constant debate on how, and if, adapting its concepts to the digital developments of recent times is necessary. The aim of this literature review is to contribute to the discussion by examining research that investigates internationalization of firms and where digitalization plays a major role in the article's research context. The review uses bibliometric analysis which is a systematic review method that creates a representation of a research area’s structure by ranking publications, journal or authors based on analysis of citations, co-citations, and bibliographic coupling. The bibliometric analysis reveals interesting insights – including which outlets publish the most and who are the most central authors in that subfield. Thus, this review serves as a basis for the debate in IB on whether the traditional theories still serve its purpose – by looking at articles that apply these theories in a digital context. 

Keywords
Digital Internationalization, Internationalization process, Digitalization, Bibliometric analysis, VoS Viewer
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-486773 (URN)
Available from: 2022-10-17 Created: 2022-10-17 Last updated: 2022-10-24Bibliographically approved
2. Internationalization of small-sized game development firms: A born global theory perspective
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Internationalization of small-sized game development firms: A born global theory perspective
2023 (English)In: Handbook on SME Entrepreneurship, De Gruyter Open, 2023Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This chapter aims to analyze the extent to which the born global approach to internationalization can be used to understand the internationalization of small-sized game development firms. The interview data were analyzed by the operationalization of concepts based on the three categories of founder, organizational and macro-environmental drivers to internationalize. The findings show that the firms can be aligned with the different stages of their business development. This paper concludes that the first of these three stages, the subcontractors, are not born global, even though game developers must develop games with global market potential. However, firms that develop their own game are pushed to internationalize immediately by the heavily globalized and digitalized nature of the industry.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
De Gruyter Open, 2023
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-486771 (URN)978-3-11-074752-2 (ISBN)
Available from: 2022-10-17 Created: 2022-10-17 Last updated: 2022-10-20
3. Reaching New Heights in the Cloud: The Digital Transformation of the Video Games Industry
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Reaching New Heights in the Cloud: The Digital Transformation of the Video Games Industry
2021 (English)In: Management and Information Technology after Digital Transformation / [ed] Peter Ekman, Peter Dahlin, Christina Keller, Routledge, 2021, 1st, p. 53-62Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The authors argue in this chapter that business model innovations need to be linked to continuous technological innovation. The video games industry is a good example of the intertwining of these aspects over time. External technological advancements can force firms to adjust their business models, but, in some cases, the technology needs to be adapted to fit the current business model innovation. The authors show that business model innovation, related to a digitally transformed industry, mostly involves subscription-based revenue streams linked to cloud-based technologies. The insights from this chapter should help other industries undergoing digital transformation to reformulate their business model innovations in similar ways. The music (Spotify), movie (Netflix) and photography (Instagram) sectors can be considered forerunners in the context of for business model innovation in a digitally transformed era.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2021 Edition: 1st
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-455534 (URN)10.4324/9781003111245-7 (DOI)2-s2.0-85118349176 (Scopus ID)9780367612764 (ISBN)9781003111245 (ISBN)
Available from: 2021-10-07 Created: 2021-10-07 Last updated: 2022-12-06Bibliographically approved
4. Online communities as a source of innovation: A netnographic study on Crusader Kings 3
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Online communities as a source of innovation: A netnographic study on Crusader Kings 3
2022 (English)In: Proceedings of the 55th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, 2022, p. 3141-3150Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Video Game development is driven more and more by the input from player communities – both prior to release and post-release. This study focuses on a particular game community using a netnographic approach and applies the theoretical lens of free innovation. Data stems from analyzing 1,798 forum threads based on players’ ideas and suggestions, 9 interviews with active forum contributors and 2 community managers. NVivo software was used to code the suggestion threads into themes. Subsequently, the themes were analyzed based on the extent to which they were implemented into the game within the timeframe of the first four months post-release. This study thus sheds light on community management in the video games industry and players spending their free time on idea generation. Moreover, through thematic coding, the article offers a potential method on how to converge the vast amount of qualitative data stemming from player communities’ suggestions.

Series
Proceedings of the Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS), ISSN 1530-1605, E-ISSN 2572-6862
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-463384 (URN)10.24251/HICSS.2022.386 (DOI)978-0-9981331-5-7 (ISBN)
Conference
Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences 2022, online
Available from: 2022-01-09 Created: 2022-01-09 Last updated: 2023-09-11Bibliographically approved
5. Adding a social dimension to game development: Does Online Community Engagement have an effect on a video game's innovativeness?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Adding a social dimension to game development: Does Online Community Engagement have an effect on a video game's innovativeness?
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

A particularity of the video game industry is that oftentimes consumers and user communities are involved and used as a source of innovation for the development process. Digitalization has made it easier for developers to engage with their communities and communication has shifted from a one-way towards a two-way communication between developer and community. This article sets out to investigate whether engagement in online communities by the game developers has an effect on the innovativeness of the final product. Moreover, the article examines the effect of Development Speed on innovativeness.The data for this study was collected through structured survey interviews from 176 Swedish video game development projects. The data is analyzed through structural equation modeling (SEM). The results show that Online Community Engagement and Development Speed have a significant effect on the Innovativeness of a game. The paper highlights that adding a social dimension - by involving online communities in form of a two-way communication in the development process - has a beneficial effect on a game’s innovativeness.

National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-486772 (URN)
Available from: 2022-10-17 Created: 2022-10-17 Last updated: 2023-01-11Bibliographically approved

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