Using open innovation in online gaming on the example of Blizzard Entertainment

Marcin Mikolaj Konieczny

Studenteropgave: Kandidatafhandlinger


For my master's thesis, I have decided to conduct a piece of research into the biggest online multiplayer game, World of Warcraft. I have looked into the possibility of using player-generated innovation to enrich this product. One of the most significant reasons why I decided this was important and interesting is the fact that this game has over 11 million players, many of whom are well educated and talented, making them a great possible source of free innovation. Consequently, I settled on the following research topic: Using Open Innovation in online gaming, on the example of Blizzard Entertainment I have decided to take on a descriptive approach of all the opportunities and challenges facing a gaming company willing to open themselves to user-generated innovation. In order to familiarize myself with the topic, I have made use of various innovation theories, together with innovation research done so far, and have tried to fit them into an online community setting. Finally, I have analyzed the results of my primary data, gathered from a survey and in-depth interviews. One of the most important measures in this research is clearly the level of motivation of players willing to use their free time in order to innovate. This was one of my main concerns, since it would be a crucial element in any attempt to convince a gaming company of the value of investing in open innovation. As a result of my research, I have been able to conclude that investing in open innovation should be strongly considered by gaming companies. I have found that the majority of players would spend their time, and use their skills, to innovate for the good of the game. Moreover, I was able to find examples of user-created content that have already been incorporated into live gaming and which boast quality and innovation which represent an advance on Blizzard’s original work. This proves that the quality of user-generated innovation is definitely worth considering. The fact was that users had to actually tune down their creations in order to be able to use them in game. To conclude, I would state that players are indeed a viable source of innovation for Blizzard and other online gaming companies. Taking this path, those companies will not only be able to reduce their spending on their creative departments, but also be able to introduce more radical, user-focused innovation which might possibly give them a serious competitive edge. I am also convinced that once users are able to actually take part in the creation of ‘their’ game, their loyalty and interest in the product will also greatly increase, further benefiting Blizzard.

UddannelserCand.soc.cbp Management of Creative Business Processes , (Kandidatuddannelse) Afsluttende afhandling
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