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The North American Game Industry

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The North American game industry is characterized by intense work prac- tices, high risk and volatility. The North American context produces more than 30 per cent of the games on the market. It lends itself to high-stakes dramas: long hours, looming deadlines, hardcore workers, big money pay- outs and tremendous losses. This chapter breaks down the structure of the North American game industry and its relationships with the broader global game industry. It begins by examining the historical roots of the game industry and the rise of large game console manufacturers. The chap- ter examines the various typologies of game studios and the emergence of “indie” game development and the relationship between developers and game publishers. Finally, the chapter turns to the representative organiza- tions, demographics and problematic work conditions found in the North American context.

Buy It:

O’Donnell, C. (2012). The North American Game Industry. In P. Zackariasson & T. L. Wilson (Eds.), The Video Game Industry: Formation, Present State and Future (pp. 99-115). New York, NY: Routledge.

About Casey O'Donnell

Casey O'Donnell is an Associate Professor in the Department of Media and Information at Michigan State University. He is part of the games faculty and Games for Entertainment and Learning (GEL) lab at MSU. He is also part of the game development collective Affinity Games. His research examines the creative collaborative work of videogame design and development. This research examines the cultural and collaborative dynamics that occur in both professional "AAA" organizations and formal and informal "independent" game development communities. His research has spanned game development companies from the United States to India. His research examines issues of work, production, copyright, as well as third world and postcolonial aspects of the videogame development workplace.

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