The impact of video game prototyping in an accelerator as viewed via spatial, temporal, and product scales

Devon Gidley, Mark Palmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Objective of the study: We seek to understand two aspects of a business accelerator: first, how an accelerator influences early product development, and second, how an accelerator impacts participants during and after acceleration.

Methodology/approach: We conducted an ethnography of a rapid prototyping program in video game development. Methods included 810 hours of participant observation, 58 interviews, and hundreds of analyzed material artifacts.

Originality/Relevance: We add insight into the impact and outcomes of an accelerator program across multiple scales: spatial, temporal, and product. Our study is one of the first to examine a formal video game development accelerator.

Main Results: Accelerator participants created 42 prototype games, two companies received additional funding, but no games were released within one year of the program. Product scales changed over time from expectations, to prototypes, to final games. The spatial-temporal scale of the accelerator was open to interpretation. Participants and observers held two main spatial-temporal perspectives (present-local and future-global) that changed over a one year time period.

Theoretical/methodological contributions: First, we conceptualize an accelerator as a dual competitive place where participants and observers engage in dueling and evolving spatial-temporal perspectives over time. Second, we develop the concept of an accelerated digital product scale to explain the process of evolvement from an accelerator product to a potential final product.

Social/Management contributions: We conclude the impact of an accelerator is more complex than the structure or the output. The accelerator may rapidly generate ideas or prototypes, but this does not guarantee a quicker final product release.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)410-433
JournalInternational Journal of Innovation
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jul 2022


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