Genres in cultural or ‘creative’ industries are important heuristics for innovation: they offer both directions and structure for advance, yet also constrain choices in a path-dependent fashion. The constraining forces may lead to risk-averse conservatism, which is sometimes accused of the increasing phenomenon of sequels and franchises of movies, television programmes, books and video games. This paper analyses patterns of innovation in an established genre and a newly-created genre in video games, namely First Person Shooter (FPS), and Social Games. It draws on case studies of four leading organisations developing games in the two genres. While the study shows significant creative behaviour and thinking in the early stages of the new genre of social games, it also finds tendencies to limit choices rapidly following early success, in order to close and stabilise the path. Conversely, in the mature genre of FPS there is considerable creative thinking and innovation introduced to rejuvenate and sustain interest in mature paths. The paper analyses the types of organisational initiatives, objects, tools and processes that either sustain paths or disembed from them. It integrates the notion of cultural product genre into our understanding of co-evolutionary development of technology, organisation and markets
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