Next week I will be presenting a paper on narration and organisational development at the SCOS conference. Usually this is a great conference, and this time it’s in Barcelona. So I have high expectations.

Abstract

Since the creation of the first video game in the early 1960s (Kent, 2001) an industry fostering the creating, producing and distributing of these products have been established. Although this has become an international industry the path takes to reach its present state are different, depending on the geographical location (Zackariasson and Wilson, 2012). Today, video games have a strong presence in media consumption and the industry is estimated to be worth around $56 billion in 2010, and further predicted to be worth $82 billion by 2015 by PriceWaterhouseCoopers[1].

Although being international industry, those organizations developing video games are almost exclusively local game studios. These studio’s develop games mostly funded by major game publisher – therefore lingering under a relationship to publishers that is not all beneficiary for the development studio. The situation of game developers are similar to other publishing industries (Caves, 2000; Hesmondhalgh, 2007): TV, Music, Film etc. Despite difficulties of funding game studio’s there is a steady stream of new start-up companies trying to establish themselves in this industry and create a movement of the organization from an idea of a game toward an established company with a portfolio of games and industry credit.

The aim of this paper is to describe the narration of the movement from a loose set of persons sharing an idea of a video game – toward the formation of an organization that can sustain this idea and support further game ideas. Most game studio’s are first formed around a game idea, only later to create a formal company and an organization with specified roles and responsibilities.

The material for this study is based on ethnographic interviews (Spradley, 1979) with Swedish game developers. None of the developers that are part of the study are yet established in the industry. All of them have developed games, but not yet in a position where the organization are moving beyond the need for local financial support from the incubator they all operate under.

This research project will apply an action nets approach in creating an understanding on how these persons construct narratives(Czarniawska, 1997; 2004a; 2004b). Action nets, just as actor-network theory (Latour 2005), originates from sociology of translation. But, instead of following the actors, or actants, in the construction actor networks, an action net approach implies following actions made by actors.