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MIT New Simulation Game for MBA Students: Platform Wars

MIT Sloan School of Management has just launched the business video game simulation - Platform Wars: Simulating the Battle for Video Game Supremacy. In this live, web-based simulation, students get into the shoes of a Senior Manager at a video game company such as Sony. The student must now make a series of decisions to help the company succeed in this dynamic and highly complex market.

The game is centered around an accompanying case study based on the launch of Sony’s PlayStation 3. In the game, success depends on the number of people that own it and the amount of games and applications available for the platform. This and various other features interact dynamically to determine the market share and earnings.

Instructors can use the Game Settings page to alter market dynamics like Sensitivity of Console Buyer to the Availability of Games, Sensitivity of Console Buyer to the Number of other Product Owners, Percent of Migration Costs to Initial Development Costs and even Competitor Pricing Strategies. This can help simulate different market conditions, and various competitor strategies. Students can get the income statements, the Complimentary Goods data like games available, game subsidy and compatible games, for his or her company, the competitor and the entire market.

As the student changes factors like Console Price, Game Titles to Subsidize, and the Royalty Percentage, the market factors instantly changes giving immediate feedback. This helps students to get used to the real world scenario where business decisions need to be made on the run, and myriad factors have to be considered. What is more, this game is fun, and gives an experiential edge to what is taught in class. The game can be used to teach MBA graduates strategy, technology strategy, economics, system dynamics, and strategic pricing behavior.

The game was developed by John D. Sterman, the Jay W. Forrester Professor in Computer Science, and the Director of the System Dynamics Group at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He has pioneered Management Flight Simulations at the MIT Sloan School of Management, under which the Platform War game was developed. He has been involved in developing as many as five other simulation games, available on MIT Sloan’s Learning Edge page, an important part of the school’s action learning approach.

The best part is that the game is not just available to MIT students. Anyone can take up the challenge here.

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