New horizons or a strategic mirage? Artist-led-distribution versus alliance strategy in the video game industry

Thijs L. J. Broekhuizen*, Joseph Lampel, Joost Rietveld

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this paper we contribute to the debate between researchers who argue that the emergence of online distribution allows content producers in the creative industries to bypass powerful publishers and distributors, and other researchers who argue that this strategy cannot succeed without the complementary assets that these intermediaries provide. We use a case study of the Dutch Video Game Developer (DVGD) bringing to market an identical game using two different but comparable distribution channels as a quasi-experiment: in the first release DVGD used online distribution to reach consumers directly, whereas in the second it used an alliance with an established video game publisher. We find that, while the alliance required DVGD to share with the publisher a substantial fraction of the value appropriated by the game, the alliance strategy resulted in greater absolute financial performance and relative market performance compared to the self-publishing strategy. We conclude that the differences in performance can be traced back to specialized complementary assets required for successful commercialization. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)954-964
Number of pages11
JournalResearch Policy
Volume42
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May-2013

Keywords

  • Specialized complementary assets
  • Online distribution channels
  • Vertical integration
  • Vertical bypassing
  • Gatekeepers
  • Video game industry
  • MOTION-PICTURE-INDUSTRY
  • COMPLEMENTARY ASSETS
  • VALUE CREATION
  • PRODUCTION NETWORKS
  • TRANSACTION COSTS
  • FIRM PERFORMANCE
  • PRODUCT-MARKET
  • ONLINE MUSIC
  • VALUE CHAIN
  • INNOVATION

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