chapter  5
17 Pages

The North American Game Industry: Casey O’Donnell


The North American game industry is characterized by intense work practices, high risk and volatility. The North American context produces more than 30 per cent of the games on the market. It lends itself to high-stakes dramas: long hours, looming deadlines, hardcore workers, big money payouts and tremendous losses. This chapter breaks down the structure of the North American game industry and its relationships with the broader global game industry. It begins by examining the historical roots of the game industry and the rise of large game console manufacturers. The chapter examines the various typologies of game studios and the emergence of “indie” game development and the relationship between developers and game publishers. Finally, the chapter turns to the representative organizations, demographics and problematic work conditions found in the North American context.