User Entrepreneurship in the esports Industry : An exploratory Case Study of the Game Series "Super Smash Bros."
Abstract: Background: Users are an important but underestimated driver of innovation and entrepreneurship. Therefore, they have a positive impact on the competitive position of companies, the development of industries and the wealth of societies as a whole. Our study focuses on the occurrence and development of user entrepreneurship in the esports industry, which is a modern and fast-growing industry that is also characterized by its over-energetic, over-enthusiastic and over-dynamic users. One compelling case of user entrepreneurship can be observed in the game series “Super Smash Bros.” where users have developed an esports scene out of the game without the active involvement of its publisher Nintendo. Research Purpose: The development of an in-depth understanding of how user entrepreneurship evolves and works in the esports industry. Research Problem: Both, user entrepreneurship and the esports industry, are relatively new research areas that have not yet been sufficiently investigated. As user entrepreneurship is assumed to be more likely in industries that are characterized by uncertainty, ambiguity and evolving demands, and in which the product or service provides enjoyment, we deem the esports industry to provide facilitating conditions for its emergence. Therefore, a deeper understanding of genesis and mechanics has the potential to apply those learnings within the industry and to other industries which may benefit from user entrepreneurship as well. Research Question: How do users and the environment in the esports industry enable the occurrence and flourishing of user entrepreneurship? Method: Ontology – Relativism; Epistemology – Social Constructionism; Methodology – Exploratory Single Embedded Case Study; Data Collection – 12 Semi-structured Interviews supported by Online Forum Narratives; Sampling – Purposeful selection of the first Interviewees followed by Snowball Sampling; Data Analysis – Content Analysis (creation of a tree-diagram based on quotes, sub-categories, generic categories and main categories) Conclusion: We developed a model that represents the most important factors for user entrepreneurship apparent in the esports industry and describes how they enable its occurrence and flourishing. Thereby we contribute to an understanding of the interdependence between user- and environmental-specific enabling factors for user entrepreneurship. Our results suggest that the presence of a supportive environment fosters the user entrepreneur’s motivation, knowledge and skills. Practical Implications: Emerging from our findings, implications for producer firms, individual user entrepreneurs and user entrepreneurship communities were developed on how to purposely foster user entrepreneurship and benefit from its occurrence.
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