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Development, financing and distribution in the contemporary game industry

This ongoing research is set to explore the production cultures and the industrial practices in the development of games (video games, alternate reality games, tabletop games). It specifically investigates the processes and workflows by which the industry develops, finances and distributes the product in the contemporary market, in a context of dominant internationalisation and interconnectivity.

The research analyses how a game is produced, from concept to the post-release, and what are the steps through which an idea is transformed into a ludic experience. The investigation analyses both the successful elements and the flaws of the contemporary industrial processes through representative case studies. The aim is to define an effective workflow for industries to adopt and adapt to their productions. In the contemporary production, marketing has increasingly taken advantages of transmedia strategies to find new consumers and consolidate old users. Therefore, this research explores transmedia storytelling as an industrial tactic to expand the narrative behind the game on other media and reach a cross audience.

The impact of this research resides in formulating a workflow for the development of games which facilitates the industry in minimising the costs of production, economically support the development, efficiently organise the working team and set effective marketing strategies to expand the consumers.

The investigation involves an open-ended strategy for qualitative data collection, observation, interviews and mixed research methods. The research focuses on contemporary production and involves the participation of working game developers such as Matteo Lana and Gerardo Verna. The study is at an early stage and is expected to generate a series of research outputs such as publications and workshops.


Balla, G. in Carbone, M. B. and Fassone, R. (2020) Il Videogioco in Italia: Storie, Rappresentazioni, Contesti. Udine & Milano: Mimesis.

Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

Dr Gianluca Balla - Gianluca Balla is an academic in Games Art, Animation and Visual Effects, and a transmedia content producer and writer. He is an expert in producing entertainment in various media and connecting them to build up engaging narratives. His experience in several roles and media gave him confidence in intellectualising how to create impactful storytelling for different audiences. Gianluca is proficient in various 2D and 3D software. He completed a Ph.D. in film directing and visual effects at the University of York and he is the founder of the production companies Whip Ma Whop Ma Film and Transmedia Tale. Gianluca wrote, produced, and directed several shorts which have been screened in International Film Festivals around the world. In 2018, the film 'Shelf Life' which he directed was shortlisted for the AHRC Research in Film Awards at BAFTA for its use of binaural audio which allows to identify the positions of characters and objects in space. The film was designed for a visually impaired audience and involved innovative sound design techniques and a first-person narration for accessibility. Gianluca has been a member of the selection committee for the Fiction category of The Globe International Silent Film Festival 2017. Gianluca is currently producing web-series, games, and comics for the 'A Monster Lass' project and writing his first novel. In 2021, he started The Drawnbridge, a YouTube and Twitch channel on Game Art. Gianluca enjoys composing ambient music and producing concept art and digital paintings. He also provides consultancy for the creative industries.

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Organisations interested in our research can partner with us with confidence backed by an external and independent benchmark: The Knowledge Exchange Framework. Read more.

Project last modified 13/08/2021