The digital entertainment industries and beyond

Thompson, Paul and Parker, Rachel and Cox, Stephen; Newsome, Kirsty and Taylor, Phil and Bair, Jennifer and Rainnie, Al, eds. (2015) The digital entertainment industries and beyond. In: Putting Labour in its Place. Critical Perspectives on Work and Employment . Palgrave Macmillan Ltd., Houndmills, Basingstoke. ISBN 9781137410351 (In Press)

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The chapter draws on research that situates development studios – games and visual effects (VFX) – in the global value chain, concerned with issues of control and value capture faced by small and medium-sized producers of digital entertainment products. In the context of the relevant industries, it shows how mainstream global value chain (GVC) perspectives are unable to deal with asymmetric power relations between capitals and between capital and labour. A preliminary model of value and power dynamics is developed that goes beyond complexity of information exchange, codifiability and competence of the supplier base (cf. Gereffi et al., 2005), in part by incorporating labour power – value inputs, agency and impacts – more fully into the framework. The chapter is, therefore, a contribution both to developing less workplace-centric versions of labour process theory and exploring it compatibility with value chain models that have a more radical intent restored.