A game incubator’s business environment

What’s an “Incubation Ecosystem”?

Incubation doesn’t happen in a vacuum. At its very core, incubation is about preparing and introducing incubatees to the game industry ecosystem. To do this successfully, an incubator needs to understand and engage with the individual stakeholders of that game industry ecosystem.

Ecosystem compositions are driven by business survival and growth. Though mostly overlapping with the games industry ecosystem or the games community composition, we are here looking at the relevance of the groups from the incubator’s perspective: the game incubator ecosystem.

The term “ecosystem” lends itself from biology and in this context is metaphorically used in the world of business. We quote James Moore:

“An economic community supported by a foundation of interacting organizations and individuals—the organisms of the business world. The economic community produces goods and services of value to customers, who are themselves members of the ecosystem. The member organisms also include suppliers, lead producers, competitors, and other stakeholders. Over time, they coevolve their capabilities and roles, and tend to align themselves with the directions set by one or more central companies. Those companies holding leadership roles may change over time, but the function of ecosystem leader is valued by the community because it enables members to move toward shared visions to align their investments, and to find mutually supportive roles.”

Moore, James F. (1996). The Death of Competition: Leadership & Strategy in the Age of Business Ecosystems. New York: HarperBusiness. ISBN 0-88730-850-3. P. 26.

The Incubator as Broker

Developing a game might be a successful undertaking even when doing it all alone in a “garage band” style without any guidance, contacts, or funds. An incubator who wouldn’t involve and connect to ecosystem stakeholders would offer a poor service.

In a way, an incubator is also a broker, an influencer, an industry voice, etc. Thus, an incubator is a mediator between different groups of the ecosystem. For the medium and long-term success of the incubator it is vital to fulfil this role. Obviously, this translats into success for their incubatees.

The Who and Why

The composition of the ecosystem is complex (the “Who”). Knowing and understanding the importance, nature, ambition, motivation and goals of different ecosytem playsers is paramount for an incubator. Only with such knowledge will the incubator be able to establish the type of relationship or engagement that will benefit most of its incubatees (the “Why”).

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