Global video game revenue has grown substantially over the past half-decade, rising from $76 billion in 2013 to $138 billion in 2018. In this opportunity-rich environment, the difference between a good and great team often results in gaining — or losing — millions of dollars. To identify ways to improve performance, I studied two known factors of team performance from other industries and applied them to game development. Specifically, I studied team trust and team power distance on eleven teams developing mobile games. On those teams, our data showed that team trust had a strong association with team performance.

For the study, forty-six video game developers were divided into eleven teams and tasked with producing a mobile video game. Over a three-month time frame, each team developed five milestones. After each milestone, each team member completed a survey that measured two of the studied variables: team trust and individual power distance. To measure the third studied variable, team performance, external stakeholders completed a team performance assessment for each video game at each milestone. All surveys were constructed in Qualtrics and administered electronically. In addition to gathering quantitative data, I randomly selected and individually interviewed one video game developer from each team. At least two interviews were conducted per milestone, and interviews occurred one to five days after the completion of each milestone. After data collection, I used statistical software to analysis the relationships between variables.