DIY-IAP: Play Platform Wars

by Nancy DuVergne Smith on January 13, 2012

in Learning, Management

Want to turn a fresh idea about video game platforms into a fabulously successful startup? You’ll need some business savvy to do that. You can start building those skills right now with a free, online simulation offered by the MIT Sloan School of Management—Platform Wars: Simulating the Battle for Video Game Supremacy.

MIT Professor John Sterman created Platform Wars.

MIT Professor John Sterman created Platform Wars.

In this real-time simulation, you play the role of senior management of a video game hardware platform producer with a hot new methodology. You will learn about the dynamics of competition in markets that depend not only on a product’s price and features, but also on how many people own it and how many games and applications are available. You plug in numbers, advance, and see how markets react.

The stakes are high, according to MIT Professor John Sterman PhD ’82, an expert in system dynamics who developed the simulation with colleagues. “The first truly successful video game was PONG, the arcade and home versions offered by Atari,” he says in an introductory video. Atari sales jumped from $100 million a year to $200 billion a year in just a few years in the 1970s largely because of their market dominance.

“Platform wars are not restricted to the Internet world, of course,” Sterman notes. “And important example that is playing out now is the competition to become the new standard for automobiles. We have the competition between the dominant platform of internal combustion engines being powered by gasoline or fossil fuels and that is being challenged by a variety of new contenders including plugin electric vehicles, plugin hybrids, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, and biofuel types of vehicles. So the lessons you can learn in the simulator are application to a variety of other markets.”

Get Started:

Go the Platform Wars page and watch the Student Instruction Video (26 minutes) and then log in to the Platform Wars simulation itself.

For more business savvy, download the 24-page case study “Sony’s Battle for Video Game Supremacy” by Sterman, Khan Jekarl, Cate Reavis.

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