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GPN working paper

This working paper is part of the Global Production Networks working paper series

Video Games Production Networks: value capture, power relations and embeddedness

Jennifer Johns

Abstract

This paper has two main aims. First, to conceptualise the production networks of the video games industry through an examination of its evolution into a multi-million dollar industry. Second, to use the video games industry to demonstrate the utility of Global Production Network approaches to understanding the geographically uneven impacts of processes of globalisation. In particular, three key notions of value, power and embeddedness are used to reveal the most powerful actors in the production network, how they maintain and exercise their power, and how the organisation of production is manipulated as a result. It is argued that while hardware production is organised by console manufacturers using truly global sourcing strategies, the production of software is far more complex. In fact, software production networks are bounded within three major economic regions – Western Europe, North America and Asia Pacific. This paper seeks to explain how and why this has occurred.

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