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Software exclusivity and the scope of indirect network effects in the U.S. home video game market

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  • Corts, Kenneth S.
  • Lederman, Mara
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    Abstract

    This paper investigates the scope of indirect network effects in the home video game industry. We argue that the increasing prevalence of non-exclusive software gives rise to indirect network effects that exist between users of competing and incompatible hardware platforms. This is because software non-exclusivity, like hardware compatibility, allows a software firm to sell to a market broader than a single platform's installed base. We look for evidence of market-wide network effects by estimating a model of hardware demand and software supply. Our software supply equation allows the supply of games for a particular platform to depend not only on the installed base of that platform, but also on the installed base of competing platforms. Our results indicate the presence of both a platform-specific network effect and--in recent years--a cross-platform (or generation-wide) network effect. Our finding that the scope of indirect network effects in this industry has widened suggests one reason that this market, which is often cited as a canonical example of one with strong indirect network effects, is no longer dominated by a single platform.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal International Journal of Industrial Organization.

    Volume (Year): 27 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 2 (March)
    Pages: 121-136

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:indorg:v:27:y:2009:i:2:p:121-136

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505551

    Related research

    Keywords: Indirect network effects Software exclusivity Video game industry Market tippiness;

    References

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    1. Clements, Matthew T., 2004. "Direct and indirect network effects: are they equivalent?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 633-645, May.
    2. Kaiser, Ulrich & Wright, Julian, 2004. "Price Structure in Two-sided Markets: Evidence from the Magazine Industry?," ZEW Discussion Papers 04-80, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    3. Gandal, N. & Greenstein, S. & Salant, D., 1995. "Adoptions and Orphans in the Early Microcumputer Market," Papers 02-95, Tel Aviv.
    4. Sangin Park, 2004. "Quantitative Analysis of Network Externalities in Competing Technologies: The VCR Case," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(4), pages 937-945, November.
    5. Gandal, Neil, 1995. "Competing Compatibility Standards and Network Externalities in the PC Software Market," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(4), pages 599-608, November.
    6. Nair, Harikesh S. & Chintagunta, Pradeep & Dube, Jean-Pierre, 2003. "Empirical Analysis of Indirect Network Effects in the Market for Personal Digital Assistants," Research Papers 1948, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    7. Hall, Bronwyn H. & Mairesse, Jacques & Turner, Laure, 2006. "Identifying Age, Cohort and Period Effects in Scientific Research Productivity - Discussion and Illustration Using Simulated and Actual Data on French Physicists," MERIT Working Papers 042, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    8. Katz, Michael L & Shapiro, Carl, 1985. "Network Externalities, Competition, and Compatibility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 424-40, June.
    9. Farrell, Joseph & Saloner, Garth, 1992. "Converters, Compatibility, and the Control of Interfaces," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(1), pages 9-35, March.
    10. Church, Jeffrey & Gandal, Neil, 1992. "Network Effects, Software Provision, and Standardization," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(1), pages 85-103, March.
    11. Marc Rysman, 2004. "Competition Between Networks: A�Study of the Market for Yellow�Pages," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(2), pages 483-512, 04.
    12. Berry, Steven & Levinsohn, James & Pakes, Ariel, 1995. "Automobile Prices in Market Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(4), pages 841-90, July.
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    Cited by:
    1. Igal Hendel & Aviv Nevo & François Ortalo-Magné, 2007. "The Relative Performance of Real Estate Marketing Platforms: MLS versus FSBOMadison.com," NBER Working Papers 13360, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Jin-Hyuk Kim & Jeffrey T. Prince & Calvin Qiu, 2013. "Indirect Network Effects and the Quality Dimension: A Look at the Gaming Industry," Working Papers 2013-10, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
    3. Fabrizio, Kira R. & Hawn, Olga, 2013. "Enabling diffusion: How complementary inputs moderate the response to environmental policy," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(5), pages 1099-1111.
    4. Claussen, Jörg & Kretschmer, Tobias & Spengler, Thomas, 2010. "Market leadership through technology – Backward compatibility in the U.S. Handheld Video Game Industry," Discussion Papers in Business Administration 12716, University of Munich, Munich School of Management.
    5. Luca Aguzzoni & Elena Argentesi & Paolo Buccirossi & Lorenzo Ciari & Tomaso Duso & Massimo Tognoni & Cristiana Vitale, 2013. "They Played the Merger Game: A Retrospective Analysis in the UK Videogames Market," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1330, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    6. Claussen, Jörg & Kretschmer, Tobias & Spengler, Thomas, 2010. "Backward Compatibility to Sustain Market Dominance – Evidence from the US Handheld Video Game Industry," Discussion Papers in Business Administration 11499, University of Munich, Munich School of Management.

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