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Vertical Integration, Exclusivity and Game Sales Performance in the US Video Game Industry

This paper empirically investigates the relation between vertical integration and video game performance in the US video game industry. For this purpose, we use a widely used data set from NPD on video game monthly sales from October 2000 to October 2007. We complement these data with handly collected information on video game developers for all games in the sample and the timing of all mergers and acquisitions during that period. By doing this, we are able to separate vertically integrated games from those that are just exclusive to a platform. First, we show that vertically integrated games produce higher revenues and sell more units at higher prices than independent games. Second, we explore the causal effect of vertical integration and find that, for the average integrated game, most of the difference in performance comes from better release and marketing strategies that soften competition and not from ex-ante differences in video game quality. We also find that exclusivity is associated with lower demand. Our estimates suggest that consumers value vertical integration features in their games between 4 and 34 dollars per game.

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File URL: http://www.netinst.org/Gil_Warzynski_10-06.pdf
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Paper provided by NET Institute in its series Working Papers with number 10-06.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2010
Date of revision: Sep 2010
Handle: RePEc:net:wpaper:1006
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.NETinst.org/

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  1. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver, 1985. "The Cost and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," CEPR Discussion Papers 70, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Klein, Benjamin & Crawford, Robert G & Alchian, Armen A, 1978. "Vertical Integration, Appropriable Rents, and the Competitive Contracting Process," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 297-326, October.
  3. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "Multitask Principal-Agent Analyses: Incentive Contracts, Asset Ownership, and Job Design," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 24-52, Special I.
  4. James E. Prieger & Wei-Min Hu, 2006. "An Empirical Analysis of Indirect Network Effects in the Home Video Game Market," Working Papers 06-25, NET Institute, revised Oct 2006.
  5. Francine Lafontaine & Margaret Slade, 2007. "Vertical Integration and Firm Boundaries: The Evidence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(3), pages 629-685, September.
  6. Hiroshi Ohashi, 2005. "How does Ownership Structure Affect the Timing of New Product Introductions? Evidence from the U.S. Video Game Market," CARF F-Series CARF-F-026, Center for Advanced Research in Finance, Faculty of Economics, The University of Tokyo.
  7. Matthew T. Clements & Hiroshi Ohashi, 2004. "Indirect Network Effects and the Product Cycle: Video Games in the U.S., 1994-2002," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-261, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
  8. Robin S. Lee, 2007. "Vertical Integration and Exclusivity in Two-Sided Markets," Working Papers 07-39, NET Institute, revised Aug 2012.
  9. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1994. "The Firm as an Incentive System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 972-91, September.
  10. Kenneth S. Corts & Mara Lederman, 2007. "Software Exclusivity and the Scope of Indirect Network Effects in the U.S. Home Video Game Market," Working Papers 07-43, NET Institute, revised Nov 2007.
  11. Hart, Oliver, 1995. "Firms, Contracts, and Financial Structure," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288817, March.
  12. Robin S. Lee, 2013. "Vertical Integration and Exclusivity in Platform and Two-Sided Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(7), pages 2960-3000, December.
  13. Lesley Chiou, 2009. "Empirical Analysis of Competition between Wal-Mart and Other Retail Channels," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(2), pages 285-322, 06.
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