Digital internationalization of SMEs : A phenomenon-based study on the video game industry

Sammanfattning: Digital technologies, platforms, and infrastructure have changed how business is conducted in many industries. In particular, digital platforms have evolved as a facilitator of internationalization of small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This phenomenon can also be observed in the video game industry, where digital giant firms have elaborated themselves by building multi-sided platforms, where game developers and users interact with each other.This thesis sets out to investigate three phenomena in relation to the digital internationalization of SMEs in that industry, which are distinctive to the video game industry. These phenomena are the prevalence of born global firms, online community engagement, and the digital platforms in the industry. A literature review on digital internationalization served as a theoretical starting point. Furthermore, a pragmatic research approach led to various research methods investigating the three stated phenomena. The methods applied in this thesis comprised interviewing founders of small-sized game development firms, conducting a netnography in an online community, and analyzing data from structured survey interviews from 176 Swedish video game development projects by conducting structural equation modeling (SEM).    The overall findings of this thesis reveal a new type of digital platforms that are lifting this industry into further heights, an interesting interplay of SME game developers and digital giants owning the significant platforms in the industry. Moreover, the findings highlight an extraordinary level of interaction between game developers and their online communities.

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