We are a team of video game researchers working on the grant project Developing Theories and Methods for Game Industry Research, Applied to the Czech Case, funded by Charles University through the PRIMUS program, and running from January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2023. From October 2021, the project will be joined by two PhD students.
The project aims to develop a theoretical and methodological framework to understand the complex dynamics of game production and game industry, and its embeddedness in the social, cultural, and economic contexts. Although digital games are a global phenomenon, our research will apply the framework to the Czech game industry, teasing out the specifics of digital game production as a part of national creative industries. We will also engage in comparative work.
The project approaches digital game production primarily as a cultural industry, driven by market forces and following industry logics, but producing works that present ideas, worldviews, and ideologies. Our project consists of five work packages, each of which reflects one aspect of game production.
- WP1 develops a historical understanding of the development of production practices and regulatory frameworks.
- WP2 develops a theoretical conceptualization of the digital game as a product of cultural industries, taking into account the current research into platformization and games-as-service.
- WP3 focuses on the structure and roles of game production labor.
- WP4 traces content patterns in the given production context (such as the Czech game industry).
- WP5 conceptualizes the beliefs about the cultural and social values of game production held by industry practitioners and circulated by media discourses.
While we aim to produce a generalized framework that can be applied in various contexts and support multiple specific research projects in the future, such a framework needs to be tested and refined through empirical work. Our goal is to synthesize an approach that does not simply describe games as a “global” phenomenon but is sensitive to the political, cultural, economic, and labor-related features of particular production contexts.