Book Chapter

Problematising a homogenous spatial logic for the creative industries



Champion K (2013) Problematising a homogenous spatial logic for the creative industries. In: Hotho S & MacGregor N (eds.) Changing the Rules of the Game: Economic and Management Issues in the Computer Games Industry. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 9-27.

The computer games industry can be regarded, in many ways, as a paradigmatic sector of the creative economy. It has been firmly on the policy agenda in the UK since New Labour{\textquoteright}s election in 1997 and, in particular, since 1998 with the inclusion of digital games as a sub-sector of creative industries as defined by the {\textquoteleft}Creative Industries Task Force{\textquoteright}. Its high public profile has been justified by claims of economic weight and potential externalities (DCMS, 2012a; TIGA, 2012). As well as a belief that the sector can provide direct benefits to the economy, it is suggested that it also provides additional advantages through a multiplier effect and can even ameliorate the impact of recent recession. In terms of policy interventions aimed at fostering growth within the computer games industry, many have taken a spatially targeted focus including the funding and development of hubs and clusters. The rationale for this attention rests on a belief that the sector has a particular spatial logic in common with the wider creative industries, which preferences proximity and is subject to advantages of agglomeration. Despite a paucity of empirical research specifically reviewing the spatial rationale of the computer games sector, significant work has been undertaken to identify the location patterns within the wider creative economy. The existing research suggests that the creative industries have a dominant spatial rationale which tends to favour co-location, and that large metropolitan centres act as natural hubs of activity, but there remain gaps in evidence base. This chapter explores the emergence of the creative industries sector as a policy priority and then reviews the existing evidence of a common spatial rationale. The key attributes of the computer games industry are compared to those of the wider creative industries sector to determine if the former reflects the key characteristics seen to define the latter. Next, the existing empirical evidence regarding the spatial organization of the games sector is examined to determine convergence or deviation from the accepted creative industries logic. A scarcity of robust evidence is highlighted alongside an examination of some of the key challenges of researching the computer games industry and the wider creative industries sector. Finally, it is argued that a tendency towards the social construction of the sector as a discreet industry can do more to obscure than reveal trends, especially in a time of increasing convergence and digitization affecting the economy as a whole.

creative industries; computer games sector; spatial organisation

Publication date31/12/2013
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Publisher URL
Place of publicationBasingstoke

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Dr Katherine Champion

Dr Katherine Champion

Senior Lecturer, Communications, Media and Culture