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Digitala drömmar och industriell utveckling: en studie av den svenska dator- och tv-spelsindustrin 1980-2010
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economic History.
2010 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Digital Dreams and Industrial Development : the Swedish computer and video game industry 1980-2010 (English)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis is to explore and analyse the development of the Swedish video and computer game industry. The main focus is on the Swedish game development industry. The research was conducted with two different methods. First with a macro approach where all Swedish game developers were identified and general data from the annual reports was collected. The second part is a case study with three Swedish game developing companies focusing on the production and development of the firms.

The game industry has expanded and some of the successful games have generated spectacular revenues. In Sweden the industry has received attention from different actors like universities, government bodies and media. Yet little research has been done about the Swedish game industry. In general the game industry outside the larger videogame producing countries USA, Japan and the UK has been ignored to a large part in academic research.

The first computer games were made for some of the very first computers in the 1940’s and 1950’s. In the 1970’s, a market for games was created when arcade machines and somewhat later home consoles were introduced. The industry has grown and today it includes some of the largest companies in the world. The Swedish industry follows the international pattern. Evidence suggests that the first Swedish games were created in the 1950’s at the large university computers. But a game developing industry seems to have developed a bit later than internationally when the first Swedish game companies were founded in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.

The Swedish industry entered an introduction phase from the middle of 1980’s, a couple of years after the introduction of personal computers, until the end of the 1990’s. An expansion phase started in 1998. The expansion was strong between 1998 to 2002 and 2006 to 2008. In 2008 the number of people employed in the industry had increased to over 1300. During the studied period the industry seems to have had constant problems making a profit. Especially in 2002 and 2003 the industry had economic problems and some of the larger companies went bankrupt.

The distribution among the companies shows that the concentration within the industry is growing. A few companies have expanded rapidly and have well over a hundred employees. The industry is very gender segregated and the number of women working in the industry is under ten percent.

To study the development on a micro level, three Swedish game developing companies were selected. The focus was the development and change in production and organisation. The structure of the industry seems to have been changing with the fast technical development. A more modular structure seems to be emerging within the industry. In a number of areas a modular system has emerged. It is possible to buy more parts and productions capacity on the market. It is possible to buy game engines and outsource motions-capture work to other specialized companies.

The relation to game publishers seems to influence the companies and create uncertainty for the game developers when they do not own the rights to the intellectual properties. The three game developers also have a similar development being founded by computer interested young men wanting to pursuit their interest as a job. The Swedish subculture around the so called “demoscene” seems to have been a factor in the early development of the industry and a recruitment base for the early developers.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Institutionen för ekonomisk historia, Umeå universitet , 2010. , 231 p.
Series
Umeå studies in economic history, ISSN 0347-254X ; 41
Keyword [en]
Economic history, Business history, Sweden, Game industry, Game development, Digital games, Computer and video games, Industry Life Cycle, Creative destruction, Modularity.
National Category
Economic History
Research subject
Economic History
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-33912ISBN: 978-91-7459-027-2 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-33912DiVA: diva2:318709
Public defence
2010-06-03, Samhällsvetarhuset, Hörsal S205, Umeå Universitet, Umeå, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2010-05-12 Created: 2010-05-10 Last updated: 2010-11-19Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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