Industry evolution and cross-sectoral skill transfers: a comparative analysis of the video game industry in Japan, the United States, and the United Kingdom
In this paper we explore the interrelationship between technological progress and the formation of industry-specific skills by analysing the evolution of the video-game industry in three countries: Japan, the United States, and the United Kingdom. We argue that the cross-sectoral transfer of skills occurs differently depending on national contexts, such as the social legitimacy and strength of preexisting industries, the socioeconomic status of entrepreneurs or pioneer firms in an emerging industry, and the sociocultural cohesiveness between the preexisting and emerging industries. Each country draws on a different set of creative resources, which results in a unique trajectory. Whereas Japan’s video-game industry emerged out of corporate sponsorships in arcades, toys, and consumer electronics industries and drew skills from the comic book and animated-film sectors, the video-game industry in the United States evolved from arcades and personal computers. In the United Kingdom the video-game industry developed bottom-up, through a process of skills formation in the youth culture of ‘bedroom coders’ that nurtured self-taught programmers in their teens throughout the country.
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