Investigating perceptions of stakeholders' positions, activities and specialisations at a serious game interest area (NWU, Vaal)
Bunt, Lance Reginald
MetadataShow full item record
The following study profiles the stakeholders in the context of serious game (SG) design and development. This interpretivist research is done to contribute towards a contemporary, integrated, stakeholder-centred framework for the creation of SGs at higher education (HE) institutions in South Africa. As a specific case study, North-West University (NWU) is used as a relevant example due to the amount of SG work that has been done and continues to be done in this context. Despite multiple prevailing SG design frameworks, no existing taxonomic systems focus on the individuals who are impacted by and have an influence on SG design projects. Such a gap necessitates the classification of all SG interest groups. No formal classifications currently exist for persons involved in developing games intended to do more than solely entertain—especially in the HE space. The circumstances and stakeholders which formed part of the serious games interest area called the “Serious Games Institute of South Africa” (SGI-SA) at NWU are studied by way of electronic surveys to obtain qualitative data. Relevantly, the stakeholder structure of SGI-SA from 2011 to 2018 was similar to that of an independent video game development studio, with multiple NWU employees requiring a blend of competencies to embark on SG development and publishing activities. Members of the now-defunct interest area had a blend of proficiencies ranging across the breadth of stakeholder positions and activities typically seen in the video games industry. In order to devise a contemporary cataloguing of SG stakeholders, the researcher distinguished between existing demarcations of stakeholders as they are found in game design, computer science and stakeholder relationship management literature—within the broader computer science and corporate communication corpus (and in existing SG development teams). In developing a lens for viewing SG stakeholders, the researcher firstly gathered, organised and codified existing stakeholder positions, activities and specialisations in the literature. This was done to collate the stakeholder makeup of game development teams and to clearly profile stakeholders for SG design. Secondly, the complex procedures involved in SG design were unpacked to add value to the emerging classifications. Thirdly, the researcher studied the roles of these newly categorised project collaborators, associates and contributors resulting in contemporary classification categories for these interest groups. Fourthly, the implications of the formulated SG design categories to address communication issues found in SG development are presented. Finally, the cohesion required from such interest groups to produce not only fruitful serious game media but cultivate environments in which organisation-stakeholder partnerships thrive, is discussed.