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Communities of Innovation: How Video Game Makers Capture Millions of Dollars of Innovation from User Communities and You Can, Too! by Ethan Mollick, David Edery

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If games can inspire employees to be more productive, it should be no surprise that game players might also be willing to invest countless hours in improving the games that they are fans of. For example, in the two years following its release, over $16.5 million worth of labor was invested in the popular World War II game Battlefield 1942.1 This work, which greatly enhanced the game, was performed entirely by fans, for free. Working individually or in teams, these fans voluntarily created a wide variety of mods (modifications) for Battlefield 1942, some of which represented over 1,000 hours of work.

The content created by players of Battlefield 1942 did not appear by accident, or without encouragement. Game companies have spent many years learning ...

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