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Profiting from innovative user communities: How firms organize the production of user modifications in the computer games industry

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  • Lars Bo Jeppesen

Abstract

Modding – the modification of existing products by consumers – is increasingly exploited by manufacturers to enhance product development and sales. In the computer games industry modding has evolved into a development model in which users act as unpaid “complementors” to manufacturers’ product platforms. This article explains how manufacturers can profit from their abilities to organize and facilitate a process of innovation by user communities and capture the value of the innovations produced in such communities. When managed strategically, two distinct, but not mutually exclusive business models appear from the production of user complements: firstly, a manufacturer can let the (free) user complements “drift” in the user communities, where they increase the value to consumers of owning the given platform and thus can be expected to generate increased platform sales, and secondly, a manufacturer can incorporate and commercialize the best complements found in the user communities.

Suggested Citation

  • Lars Bo Jeppesen, "undated". "Profiting from innovative user communities: How firms organize the production of user modifications in the computer games industry," IVS/CBS Working Papers 2004-03, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy, Copenhagen Business School.
  • Handle: RePEc:ivs:iivswp:04-03
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    Keywords

    Innovation; modding; user communities; software platform; business model;

    JEL classification:

    • L21 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Business Objectives of the Firm
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D

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