How Cary Walkin Used Sociology to Create a Viral Video Game Innovation (in Excel)

by Cary Walkin, MBA 2013

My name is Cary Walkin, I took Entertainment Marketing during my Schulich MBA with Markus Giesler, and I'm the founder of Walkin Games, a game studio that develops video games and provides consulting services to other game studios.

My Big Idea: Arena.Xlsm

My career began as a chartered accountant, however my life-long goal has been to make an impact in the games industry. I found it impossible to transition into the games industry as established companies expect extensive industry experience. So, I decided to use what I knew and make my own path.

Professor Giesler taught us that one effective sociological strategy to create markets for new technological innovations is to develop  products and stories that consumers can use to resolve salient tensions between countervailing cultural identity models. Drawing on this technique, I created a full-length video game adventure on a platform that told the story of my brand - Microsoft Excel  - as well as an emotionally branded website and press releases to offer a playful resolution of the contradictions that typically exist between the world of accounting and business efficiency and the world of gaming and fun. The result - Arena.Xlsm - went viral globally, it was downloaded over 400,000 times, featured by over 150 international newspapers, magazines, and websites including Ars Technica, BBC, CNET, and Gizmodo, and provided the starting point to my career in the games industry as a game consultant and game designer.

Further Information

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