Workshops Announced For New Scottish Videogames Industry Research Project

Researchers from the University of Glasgow are running a series of workshops as part of a project investigating how the intellectual property (IP) model can be sustained by independent videogame developers and, in turn, support business growth in Scotland.

The workshops will be held in Dundee, Glasgow and Edinburgh to provide a forum for videogame developers, industry bodies, support organisations and policy makers to collectively discuss the IP model and identify the key actions required.

Workshop dates, locations and speakers include:

The organisers, Helen Mullen and Matthew Barr, are looking for insight and input from people across the industry. Please come along and help to create a better picture of IP activity in Scotland, and find out how the IP model can work for your business or those businesses you work with.

The events are free to attend and travel expenses can be reimbursed. The organisers, clearly knowing the industry, are even offering participants a gift voucher and even a free lunch.

Videogames IP Project

The new research project, led by the University of Glasgow, is looking at ways in which the games industry (in Scotland and beyond) can adopt and refine ways of working with Intellectual Property (IP) to improve their business and drive growth.

Researchers at the University of Glasgow Adam Smith Business School and the School of Computing Science are bringing together videogame developers, industry bodies, policy makers and support organisations to identify what influences the successful development of IP and where the barriers are. This will be used to inform future support and policy.

Work-For-Hire

There is a tradition of videogame developers undertaking a work-for-hire, subcontractor-based business model. This is often viewed as a barrier to success, as it is project-based, involves little or no proprietary IP and has limited possibilities for building value in a business.

Many firms would prefer an IP-based model, where the developer owns the IP, and is responsible for commercialising it, thereby creating more value. However, for the smaller developers, changing to an IP business model can be challenging.

Principal Investigator, Professor Colin Mason, Professor Of Entrepreneurship, said:

“The videogames industry has always been a highly entrepreneurial sector with a healthy level of start-up activity. However, not enough videogame companies are scaling-up.

“It has been suggested that the IP model can enable such businesses to achieve value and scale. But most do not know enough about this process. Our recent research shows that small videogame development businesses can adopt the IP model, but for them to sustain this is challenging and firms often continue the use of work-for-hire alongside the IP model.

“This project provides an opportunity to learn more about the realities of the IP model and identify the factors that help and hinder its successful adoption. Our findings can be used to inform future support provision and policy for the videogames industry in Scotland.”

This investigation into how an IP model can be adopted and sustained by Scottish videogame developers also contributes to the broader issue of how small development companies can scale-up and strengthen the wider industry ecosystem.

Dr Matthew Barr, Co-Investigator on the project told the Scottish Games Network:

“We think it’s important for videogame developers – particularly start-up companies – to know about the business models available to them, and developing new IP is a particularly attractive option.

“However, lots of external factors can affect success, including market forces and the availability of funding and investment. We must also consider the internal factors that games companies will need to address if they are to succeed with their own IP, including the IP-related skills, knowledge and experience of the development and management teams.”

The project aims to contribute by:

  • Providing a better understanding of how the IP model is being undertaken, the difficulties encountered and the factors to be considered when adopting and sustaining the model.
  • Informing the support and policy agenda, highlighting the factors that help and hinder the adoption of the IP model by games development practitioners in their various forms, and the resultant support requirements.
  • Increasing awareness amongst new start-ups entering the industry about the IP model and the wider industry context within which it has be operate.

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