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The Effect of Superstar Software on Hardware Sales in System Markets

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  • Binken, J.L.G.
  • Stremersch, S.

Abstract

Systems are composed of complementary products (e.g., video game systems are composed of the video game console and video games). Prior literature on indirect network effects argues that, in system markets, sales of the primary product (often referred to as "hardware") largely depend on the availability of complementary products (often referred to as "software"). Mathematical and empirical analyses have almost exclusively operationalized software availability as software quantity. However, while not substantiated with empirical evidence, case illustrations show that certain “superstar” software titles of very high quality (e.g., Super Mario 64) may have had disproportionately large effects on hardware unit sales (e.g., Nintendo N64 console sales). In the context of the U.S. home video game console market, we show that the introduction of a superstar increases video game console sales on average by 14%, over a period of 5 months. Software type does not consistently alter this effect. Our findings imply that scholars who study the relationship between software availability and hardware sales, need to account for superstar returns, and their decaying effect over time, over and above a mere software quantity effect. Hardware firms should maintain a steady flow of superstar introductions, as the positive effect of a superstar only lasts for 5 months, and make, if need be, side-payments to software firms, as superstars dramatically increase hardware sales. Obtaining exclusivity over superstars, by hardware firms, does not provide an extra boost to their own sales, but it does take away an opportunity for competing systems to increase their sales.

Suggested Citation

  • Binken, J.L.G. & Stremersch, S., 2008. "The Effect of Superstar Software on Hardware Sales in System Markets," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2008-025-MKT, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
  • Handle: RePEc:ems:eureri:12339
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    Cited by:

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    2. Peeters, T.J.G., 2013. "External knowledge search and use in new product development," Other publications TiSEM 300ebb34-b090-4210-b95e-f, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    3. Luiz Felipe Hupsel Vaz & Antonio Roberto Ramos Nogueira & Marco Aurélio de Souza Rodrigues & Paula Castro Pires de Souza Chimenti, 2013. "A new conceptual model for business ecosystem visualization and analysis," RAC - Revista de Administração Contemporânea (Journal of Contemporary Administration), ANPAD - Associação Nacional de Pós-Graduação e Pesquisa em Administração, vol. 17(1), pages 1-17.
    4. Kim, Jin-Hyuk & Prince, Jeffrey & Qiu, Calvin, 2014. "Indirect network effects and the quality dimension: A look at the gaming industry," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 99-108.
    5. Sun, Li & Rajiv, Surendra & Chu, Junhong, 2016. "Beyond the more the merrier: The variety effect and consumer heterogeneity in system markets," International Journal of Research in Marketing, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 261-275.
    6. 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.
    7. Healey, John & Moe, Wendy W., 2016. "The effects of installed base innovativeness and recency on content sales in a platform-mediated market," International Journal of Research in Marketing, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 246-260.
    8. Yuki Inoue & Masataka Hashimoto & Takeshi Takenaka, 2019. "Effectiveness of Ecosystem Strategies for the Sustainability of Marketplace Platform Ecosystems," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(20), pages 1-33, October.
    9. Marchand, André, 2016. "The power of an installed base to combat lifecycle decline: The case of video games," International Journal of Research in Marketing, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 140-154.
    10. Peters, Frank, 2018. "The business of video games is a multi-player game : Essays on governance choices and performance in a two-sided market in the cultural industries," Other publications TiSEM 886b3148-4bbb-4ea4-b666-0, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    11. Christian Stummer & Dennis Kundisch & Reinhold Decker, 2018. "Platform Launch Strategies," Business & Information Systems Engineering: The International Journal of WIRTSCHAFTSINFORMATIK, Springer;Gesellschaft für Informatik e.V. (GI), vol. 60(2), pages 167-173, April.
    12. Marchand, André & Hennig-Thurau, Thorsten, 2013. "Value Creation in the Video Game Industry: Industry Economics, Consumer Benefits, and Research Opportunities," Journal of Interactive Marketing, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 141-157.
    13. Gal Oestreicher-Singer & Arun Sundararajan, 2012. "The Visible Hand? Demand Effects of Recommendation Networks in Electronic Markets," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(11), pages 1963-1981, November.
    14. Hernández-Mireles, C. & Franses, Ph.H.B.F., 2010. "The Launch Timing of New and Dominant Multigeneration Technologies," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2010-022-MKT, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
    15. Antonio Ladrón-de-Guevara & William Putsis, 2015. "Multi-Market, Multi-Product New Product Diffusion: Decomposing Local, Foreign, and Indirect (Cross-Product) Effects," Customer Needs and Solutions, Springer;Institute for Sustainable Innovation and Growth (iSIG), vol. 2(1), pages 57-70, March.
    16. Hernández-Mireles, C. & Fok, D. & Franses, Ph.H.B.F., 2008. "The Triggers, Timing and Speed of New Product Price Landings," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2008-044-MKT, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
    17. Rietveld, G.J. & Eggers, J.P., 2016. "Demand Heterogeneity and the Adoption of Platform Complements," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2016-003-STR, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
    18. 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.
    19. Goldenberg, Jacob & Libai, Barak & Muller, Eitan, 2010. "The chilling effects of network externalities," International Journal of Research in Marketing, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 4-15.
    20. Steiner, Michael & Wiegand, Nico & Eggert, Andreas & Backhaus, Klaus, 2016. "Platform adoption in system markets: The roles of preference heterogeneity and consumer expectations," International Journal of Research in Marketing, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 276-296.
    21. Richard T. Gretz & Ashwin Malshe & Carlos Bauer & Suman Basuroy, 2019. "The impact of superstar and non-superstar software on hardware sales: the moderating role of hardware lifecycle," Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Springer, vol. 47(3), pages 394-416, May.
    22. Broekhuizen, Thijs L.J. & Lampel, Joseph & Rietveld, Joost, 2013. "New horizons or a strategic mirage? Artist-led-distribution versus alliance strategy in the video game industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 954-964.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    hardware; indirect network effects; new product introductions; software; superstars; system markets; video game industry;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C44 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Operations Research; Statistical Decision Theory
    • D2 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations
    • M - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics
    • M31 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - Marketing

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