“The console wars”
We have analysed the game console industry with the help of game theory to try to understand the players, their strategies, industry dynamics and boundaries and to try to predict the eventual victor. While Nintendo had the clear first mover advantage with a long presence in the market, Sony dominated the console market with its PS2. Microsoft soon entered the market with its Xbox. A price war erupted and with no clear signs of a winner. Sony upped the ante with its PS3 leading to Microsoft announcing its new console and we saw the battle spilling over to HD DVDs.
The various moves of the players were studied with Betrand-Edgeworth model and the Bain-Modigliani model. We also used a decision tree with the various pay-offs to analyse what would be the likely responses of the various players. It is also interesting to note that while the boundaries of the game changed from a vertical command and control system of value creation to a more horizontal system of connect and collaborate, the various models that we used remained relevant despite whatever strategies were adopted by the players.
The following case study on the three way battle between Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo is an exemplar of how corporations battle it out in the marketplace by seeking to create value, and hence, attempting to win customers’ coveted dollars through various strategies like pricing and product differentiation.
What is at stake is more than selling game consoles. The consoles of today are designed to be the media-hub of the digital household and along with the ability to play games, these consoles allow users to go online and surf the net and are also equipped with next-generation DVD capabilities. It would not be too far fetched to make the point that this is in fact a battle between Sony and Microsoft for world domination of the entertainment heart of our households where riches and spoils await...