Video Game Research

LICENSING IN THE VIDEO GAME INDUSTRY (MA THESIS SHIRIN RESSANG 2015, HKU)

Abstract

Background

The practice of adaptation has grown over the last 35 years to become a major category in video game production today, accounting for nearly 10 percent of the total number of video games published (Blanchet, 2010). What is interesting for the game industry is that due to their massive commercial success, films can be a source of commercially interesting derivatives based on their valuable licenses. However, what makes this topic interesting to research, is that the gaming industry is keenly aware of the great numbers of mediocre and inferior games based on a popular license. The licensed content is often used by developers solely to attempt to cash in on the value of a brand, hoping for a quick return on investment. So how come some licensed games are positively received and others negatively? And what are the success factors for optimising a license?

Purpose

The purpose of this supportive narrative is to answer to research question: What are the critical determinants for creative space in adaptation from film to video game?

Several subquestions can be derived from this question:

What does the existing intellectual property actually entail for the creative freedom for a licensee? How do you handle constraints and use your creative space in designing with a licensed IP? How should a game developer handle the intellectual property a license covers? If a valuable IP can guarantee success for the licensed game, how do you maximise this success? How can a licensed game add value to an existing brand?

Who has creative control?

Relevance

When the game developer knows how to find the boundaries when handling a license, it is easier to determine the creative space necessary to make a successful adaptation. In order to optimise the license and make a successful licensed game, we have to know what the licensed IP is, how the adaptation process works, and which boundaries are imposed upon the developer by the licensor, the fan base and by the developer himself.

Method

In order to answer the research question, the paper determined the creative boundaries by analysing the design process of the graduation project underlying this supportive narrative. Besides creative boundaries, contractual boundaries are researched. Creative space is found by applying the contractual boundaries to the adaptation process.

Conclusion

While adapting a license there are several boundaries identified that need to be addressed by the licensor and licensee: defining the license identity, defining the boundaries and usage rights, agreeing on the communication plan, how to balance time, quality and budget. However, creative freedom can be found in the adaptation process as long as core brand principles and archetypes are not violated. The licensee can push boundaries with the license analysis, pop cultural references and innovation of genre and game mechanics.


THE IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE OF GAMING: DEFINITION AND DESIGN (BA THESIS SHIRIN RESSANG 2014, HKU)

Abstract

This paper focuses on the definition of the experience of immersion in games. People talk about immersion to grade the games they played, but what is immersion exactly and how can this be of use to game designers and game artists? In order to improve my game for people standing in waiting lines in a theme park, and offer other game designers a model to possibly improve their games, I have clarified the concept of immersion in gaming and outline a model on how immersion can be designed. To be able to lead players to an experience of immersion and knowing how to design, enhance or break the experience can be a great tool for game designers and even game artists. Immersion can be researched from the player’s point of view and the game designer’s point of view. A player can experience immersion in flow and/or presence. Game designers can use four possible concepts of immersion to optimize their games: survival mode, strategic immersion, narrative immersion and spatial presence. Immersion has multiple levels of emotional intensity which designers use to help the player stay immersed. The different stages of immersive experience clarify to game designers what the immersive experience is, which leads a player from merely paying attention to a game to being fully immersive in it.

Author keywords

Immersion, immersive experience, flow, presence, attention, enhancement, engrossment, survival, strategic, narrative, spatial presence, game design

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