One Big Store: Source Diversity and Value Capture of Digital Games in National App Store Instances

Daniel Joseph, David Nieborg, Chris J. Young


Have the uneven global flows of capital in the cultural industries changed because of access to distribution platforms like the Apple iOS App Store? Based on a financial analysis of a dataset containing three years of game app revenues (2015–2017), this article asks two questions. First, were game developers and publishers able to generate revenue in their domestic markets in the App Store? Second, to what extent are game app developers from the Global South, historically at the periphery of the global game industry, able to capture value in Global North instances of the App Store? This article advances discussions on the political economy of platform-dependent cultural production by placing this case within broader conversations on cultural imperialism and demonstrating that local app store instances are part of “one big store”; a U.S.-dominated and oriented space of distribution and consumption that effectively captures revenue in regional marketplaces.


platform studies, app stores, platformization, cultural imperialism, political economy of communication, game studies

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