Professor John Sterman from the Sloan School of Management at MIT developed a web-based simulation program called Platform Wars to teach business students about management challenges in the video game industry. The online simulator has recently been made available to the public for free, allowing anyone to take part.
Platform Wars is based on a case study about the launch of Sony’s PlayStation 3 and participants control the senior management of a video game hardware platform producer like Sony, Nintendo or Microsoft. They have to make decisions about a variety of business issues including the price of hardware, negotiating royalty agreements with game designers, and whether or not to subsidize game production. Players compete against a simulated competitor in an attempt to maximize the net present value of their profits. They are also free to try to achieve other goals such as market share or maximal adoption of the technology overall. Professor John Sterman said:
‘Platform Wars’ offers students and other participants an interactive learning experience by role playing the challenges of strategic competition in multi-sided markets…The dynamics experienced in ‘Platform Wars’ are important for a huge range of industries and can be better understood through this type of hands-on application as opposed to just listening to a lecture or case study discussion.