Game Developer Case Study
One of the goals of this class is for you to gain a better understanding of how development organizations have thrived and/or withered as the computer game market has changed over time. At the macro level, we can track the overall sales of computer games in different parts of the world to different segments of the market. That’s important, but that macro level doesn’t give you a good sense of how a development organization navigates those market changes.
That’s why I’m having you do a deep dive for this assignment. I’m asking you create a case study that focuses on one computer game development organization of your choice.
This assignment is asking you to do research on a computer game development organization. Your research is aimed to uncovering the history of the organization (who it was founded by, what their goals were, their successes and failures) as well examining how they have developed and marketed their creations. This, of course, means that you’ll need to read/watch their marketing materials (ads, public events, trade show presentations, etc.) and read reviews of their games to get a sense of how their games are sold. Finally, you are being asked judge their relative success or failure and what we can learn about how businesses rise or fall in the computer game industry. This may be most clearly signaled by whether the organization still exists or not, but not necessarily!
How do I write a case study?
A case study is a form of report. In particular, it is a form that examines a specific example to better understand the general conditions under observation. So, in short, what can the success or failure of this one company teach us about how other companies might succeed or fail?
The key to writing a good case study is to be systematic. Organize your report with subheadings that help us understand what each section is going to be about. Consider why each section is where it is (does it make sense why it is before what it is before and after what it is after?)
Your case study must also have citations! You may use either MLA or APA citations. You should be citing the documents you’ve read (including the companies own materials), any readings you’ve reference, and any videos/tweets/social media you’re including.
How do I choose an organization to study?
First and foremost, there are organizations you may NOT choose for this project. They are below:
- Square Enix
- Spike Chunsoft (this is our example)
I’m eliminating these development organizations because they’re simply too large and influential. Obviously, they’re super interesting, but they’re just too big to handle on this assignment.
You should pick an organization that has put out at least two games (no matter how big or small) as that will give you a little more to work with.
I would suggest you pick a development organization that has a made a game you have played and enjoyed. Conversely, you can pick an organization that has made a game you really hated.
A quick test: Does the organization you’re thinking of have a social media presence (Twitter, Instagram, etc.?) and/or a good corporate website? If not, they might be a bad choice for this assignment.
What sort of sources should I use?
You will need to draw information from a wide variety of sources to develop this project. I’d recommend starting with the companies own website and social media presence. You should also look for ads they’ve put out for their games (both in print and video/digital materials). This can also include presentations at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), the Game Developers Conference (GDC), and other trade shows. Many of these are available on YouTube.
You should also read reviews of their games, look for articles about the company in trade or popular magazines/newspapers, and on YouTube.
Important note: Sales figures for the computer game industry are notoriously difficult to find and are often extremely unreliable. Try to find information that will give you a general sense of the company’s successes and failures, but don’t obsess about perfect accuracy with sales numbers. It doesn’t exist.
This project should be presented in a paper format, though you should feel free to include images, links to videos, and any other resources you think will better help understand your project.
Times New Roman or Calibri 12-point font.
Double-spaced, 1-inch margins
Feel free to use sub-headings to divide up the paper
You should cite your sources in either MLA or APA style. Whichever you are more familiar with is fine.
Your paper should have an introduction, a conclusion, and a works cited.
Will you review my Game Developer Case Study before I submit it?
Due to the number of students, I don’t have the capacity to review every project as a draft. I will, however, provide answers to specific questions you may have over e-mail or (preferably) on the D2L message boards. For instance, I’m happy to give you feedback on whether your chosen organization is a good fit for the assignment
If you have any questions, please make sure to ask me on D2L or over e-mail!