“Look, there are video games in our area.” Territorial anchoring and local activism in the French video game industry

Authors: Hovig TER MINASSIAN*, University of Tours (FRANCE)
Topics: Recreational and Sport Geography, Economic Geography, Europe
Keywords: Videogames, cultural and creative industries, globalization, professional careers, France
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Calvert Room, Omni, East
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Often depicted as global, the video game industry has experienced profound changes during the last decade, particularly the disintermediation of part of the production chain, the decrease in production costs and the dematerialization of distribution networks. In France, these changes have made possible new development strategies, which rely less on the internationalization or the global valorization of local resources, than on territorial anchoring and local and regional development strategies. Such local anchoring is based on professional, personal or familial trajectories of video game workers, but also on their relation to their living place.
It is a theoretical issue, which allows us to analyze territorial valorization strategies not only in the perspective of their embeddedness into globalization processes, but also as fully fledged strategies of local development, which sometimes intersects with local activism. It is also an empirical issue: the video game industry in France, between 5,000 and 10,000 jobs, is mainly composed of small studios, self-employed and “indies”, even if they are hard to be accounted exhaustively all the more since 51% of French studios exist for less than 5 years. Lastly, it is a political issue, for it raises the question of the relevance of local and national policies (tax incentives) in relation with these territorial strategies.
We propose to address these issues relying on data from the research project TETRIS (Labex ICCA, University of Villetaneuse), an ongoing qualitative study of professional and personal trajectories of French video game workers (observations and around 40 semi-structured interviews).

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