Digital platforms play an increasingly transformative role in the global ecosystem of interactive media and games. Recently, we studied one type of platform boundary resource, namely application programming interfaces (APIs). We examined more than 15,000 APIs and mashups, mapping the global locations where APIs are created. Our results show the global distribution of APIs, and their concentration in various parts of the world. In this talk, I will dig deeper into the gaming API ecosystem to share insights about the development of interactive games. On the side, I will discuss the process and tools we used in our data-driven methodology.
@jnkka // fi.linkedin.com/in/jukkahuhtamaki
Tampere University of Technology
mediaX at Stanford
About this presentation
• This presentation is a revised version of a
recent presentation at HICSS 2017:
Huhtamäki, J., Basole, R., Still, K., Russell, M., & Seppänen,
M. (2017). Visualizing the Geography of Platform Boundary
Resources: The Case of the Global API Ecosystem.
What is an API?
What is a mashup?
• APIs are replacing “traditional” interfirm
• APIs are lightweight boundary resources that
allow for complementors to create value for
the focal companies
• APIs are artifacts of both lightweight software
development and business strategy
(Evans and Basole, 2016;
(Evans and Basole, 2016;
• What is the structure of global API ecosystem
• Where are APIs located geographically*?
• Is the geographical location of a company
less important in the digital age?
• Data collection using crawling and scraping
• Data-driven visual network analytics
• Semi-automated data curation process
• 13,366 APIs and 6,271 mashups from
• Using URIs as identifiers, company location
lookup using Crunchbase
• Mapping the 6,218 APIs with location data to
city-level entrepreneurial regions and global
• Cf. co-citation analysis
Three resulting connections (here
Twitter - Twitter Search
Twitter - Google App Engine
Twitter Search - Google App Engine
Geographical global view
1. Where are the APIs available globally?
2. How are APIs co-used between regions?
(Ramaswamy, 2009; Vargo and Lusch, 2004)
• Search for “Minecraft spambot”
(Plé and Chumpitaz Cáceres, 2010; Echeverri and
Skalen, 2011; Vartiainen and Tuunanen, 2016)
Sidenote: Games and Metagames
Cf. Boluk & LeMieux (2016):
“From speedrunning and ROM hacking to virtual
economies and international e-sports, metagaming has
become a dominant form of play, a game design
paradigm, and a way of life not only occurring around
videogames, but all forms of digital technology.”
• API ecosystem is highly concentrated to a
• API ecosystem is particularly flexible for
actors to offer and consume services
• API co-use is not API usage
• Public APIs vs. Private APIs