Platform Evolution's Effects on Gaming Industry Business Models: Multiple Case Study

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School of Business | Master's thesis
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MSc program in Information and Service Management
MSc program in Information and Service Management
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Video games have become common way to spend free time for all types of people. Gaming has moved from living rooms to streets thanks to popularization of mobile games. Connectivity in general has changed many aspects of gaming industry business models. Customers expect certain features in games, distribution channels have evolved and new revenue models have been introduced. Free-to- play games are the hottest trend at the moment in mobile games, but are also widely used in other video game platforms as well. This thesis was conducted as a multiple case study. Three Finnish video game developers; Housemarque, Palringo and Supercell, were interviewed to gain insights about gaming industry's current trends. The interviews were semi-structured and aimed at focusing on specialties of every case company. In addition to case interviews, relevant literature regarding business models, value process and two-sided markets was used together with timely information found from online sources. Main findings of this study contribute to slightly outdated previous research on video game industry business models. Study identifies that business models have changed mostly on value delivery and value capture components. Drivers for change come from technological advancements, changes in customer expectations, social gaming trend and changes in gaming culture. Various recommendations can be derived from case companies' models, such as use of data analytics, localization strategies and post-launch actions. This study is an overview to few Finnish game developers' ways of working, and therefore has to be generalized carefully to different types of companies.
business models, video games, free-to-play, case study, platforms, mobile games
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