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

Authors: Gil, Ricard - University of California Santa Cruz
Warzynski, Frederic - Aarhus School of Business, Denmark
Issue Date: 2010
Series/Report no.: Net Institute Working Paper;10-06
Abstract: 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.
Appears in Collections:NET Institute Working Papers Series

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