Oligopoly in Gaming Console Manufacturers


Move et al. (2005) outline oligopoly as a sort of market construction that's characterised by a couple of corporations and lots of patrons i.e., the majority of the market provide is within the fingers of a comparatively few giant corporations who promote to many small patrons. For instance: Supermarkets in UK whereby TESCO, ASDA, MORRISONS, SAINSBURY and ALDI have the lion share of the overall market, Smooth drinks manufacturing corporations like Coca-Cola and PEPSI type a duopoly and as described on this report, gaming console manufacturing corporations viz., Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony.

Financial options of Oligopoly:

Sloman et al. (2010) state that the 2 key financial options of Oligopoly are:

Boundaries to Entry.

Move et al. (2005) counsel that in an Oligopoly there are excessive limitations to entry which make it troublesome for brand new corporations to enter the market. Heavy capital funding, aggressive model advertising, economies of scale and dominance of the opponents are some elements which type limitations to entry in an Oligopoly market.

Interdependence of the corporations.

OECD Competitors Committee (1999) steered oligopolies as markets the place revenue maximizing opponents set their methods by paying shut consideration to how their rivals are more likely to react.

Because of the lack of enormous variety of opponents in an Oligopoly, every agency has to take into consideration the advertising scale, the pricing methods of its competitors and the market response to those methods. Thus, they're mutually depending on each other.

Value Fixing

In an oligopolistic market, a agency can obtain most income by colluding with its opponents. Aggressive worth wars lead to lower in market worth of the merchandise whereas aggressive advertising methods lead to elevated manufacturing prices. This eats into the revenue margins of the gross sales of the merchandise. Subsequently in an effort to maximize income, corporations have to collude with one another.

A proper collusive settlement is named a cartel (Sloman et al. 2010)


Begg and Ward (2010) state that cartel/collusion is more likely to fail when there may be:

a lot of corporations

product differentiation

Instability in demand and prices.

In case all these situations are met, then the corporations can type cartels and act as a monopoly. Beneath a monopoly, worth wars is not going to be required. The cartel will then management provide to take care of increased product costs and thereby generate supernormal income.

Allow us to take an instance of a cartel of 5 corporations making an attempt to maximise their revenue. 

Determine 1

Supply: Adopted from (Collusion and Cartels, 2010)

Allow us to take into account that the cartel decides to cost the product on the revenue maximizing degree of say £10 which is now the marginal income (MR) for every of the agency. At £10 the trade output stands at 1000. Subsequently the corporations within the cartel divide the manufacturing capabilities of one another such that complete models produced are equal to 1000 (every agency produces 200 models). Allow us to take into account the demand curve for agency A.

Determine 2


Supply: Adopted from (Collusion and Cartels, 2010)

We all know that for Marginal Prices (MC) = Marginal Income (MR), the income are maximized. Subsequently for agency A, if the revenue maximizing output is at 600 the place MC=MR then the agency could also be tempted to extend its output from 200 to 600. This is able to imply that the agency can improve its income and preserve the trade quota of 1000 items by consuming into the market share of the opposite four corporations within the cartel.

The agency can as a substitute additionally lower the worth of the unit it sells.

Determine three


Supply: Adopted from (Collusion and Cartels, 2010)

Allow us to say if the agency reduces its unit worth to £eight then the revenue will probably be maximized at output ranges of 400 models generated. This could result in a comparatively elastic demand for its product offered the opponents don't scale back the worth of their merchandise.

Both approach these methods can be handled sturdy retaliatory response by the opposite members of the cartel thereby breaking apart the cartel.

As soon as the cartel is damaged, corporations get into worth wars with each other. Many of the corporations observe a kinked demand curve on this worth warfare to make sure that they purchase a considerable market share on the expense of supernormal income.

Kinked Demand Curve:

Begg and Ward (2010) state that the thought behind a kinked demand curve is that worth rises is not going to be matched by rivals however worth reductions will probably be matched.

Determine four: Kinked Demand Curve

Supply: Adopted from (Oligopoly and Strategic Habits, 2010)

In a kinked demand curve, we see two separate demand curves at a specific worth level of P = $6 for which the output amount bought is 30 models. If a agency will increase its worth to $eight and if the opponents don't observe this improve, a relative elastic demand curve is seen. The quantity of models bought by the agency will scale back drastically to 10 models. If a agency decreases its worth to $four, competing corporations will lower their worth equally for which now the amount bought is comparatively inelastic. As a consequence of this, the corporations can promote 33 models of excellent which is simply marginally greater than at worth level of $6.

Gaming Console Producers

Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony dominate the overall market share of the gaming consoles worldwide. The merchandise that type this oligopolistic trifecta are Nintendo’s Wii, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 (additionally referred to as x360) and Sony’s PlayStation three (additionally referred to as PS3).

Determine 5: Gaming console worldwide Market share (as of 20/11/2010).

Supply: Adopted from (Vgchartz, 2010)

We are able to see from the above graph, Nintendo’s Wii is the present market chief in gaming consoles with 46.9% of the market share, adopted by Microsoft’s x360 with a 27.eight% market share and eventually Sony’s PS3 with 25.four% of the market share. Subsequently, the three agency focus ratio is 100%.

Options of Oligopoly in Console Producers

The 2 main options of an Oligopoly and the context with which these options are associated to the three console manufacturing corporations viz., Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony, are as follows:

Heavy Entry Boundaries:

For any console producer, a excessive funding of capital is required. Enormous advertising budgets are allotted to extend demand and enhance model loyalty on the expense of revenue maximization. All of the three corporations generate unbelievable revenues on their consoles and a few of these corporations bear heavy losses in an effort to purchase desired market share (as depicted in Field 1).

Field 1: Sony Shedding Virtually $250 per Console

Tailored from an article on IGN.COM, 16 November 2006

Sony is dropping $306.85 for every 20GB system bought and $241.35 for each 60GB system.

The complete manufacturing value for a 20GB system is a whopping $805.85, with the 60 GB coming in at $840.35.

The steep value of manufacturing PS3s gained’t final ceaselessly. Basically, the longer an merchandise is produced, the cheaper it turns into to fabricate. Over time, the price of the PS3 will get decrease as the price of components will get cheaper and manufacturing turns into extra environment friendly.

© uk.ps3.ign.com

The identical article additionally states that losses will finally be offset over a considerable time period. Subsequently within the console trade, corporations have to make heavy investments and accomplish that with a long run perspective which kinds one other heavy barrier for incumbent corporations.

One other heavy entry barrier is the collaboration with the sport creating corporations like EA, Activision, Ubisoft, Sega, and so on. A brand new entrant will want substantial time period to change into a number one console producer after which purchase the eye of those recreation corporations.

Interdependence of the three corporations:

Since there are solely three main gamers on this oligopolistic market section, every of the gamers takes account of the opposite: they're mutually dependent. Later we are going to see how some corporations depart from their technique of quick time period revenue maximization and interact in worth wars.

Present Pricing Methods

The three consoles are priced competitively to at least one one other. The market costs (together with all of the add-ons) of the three consoles are as follows.

Console Variant

Nintendo Wii

Xbox 360




S four GB


S 250 GB


Slim 160 GB


Slim 320 GB


Determine 6: Value Comparability of the gaming consoles.

Supply: Adopted from (Walmart, 2010)

At the moment the three corporations are locked in a worth warfare and are following a kinked demand curve whereby if one of many firm reduces the worth of its console then the opposite corporations reciprocate the technique (as seen within the article described in Field 2).

Field 2: Nintendo drops Wii console worth

Tailored from an article on BBC Information, 24 September 2009

Nintendo is reducing the worth of its widespread Wii video games console by 20% within the US, UK and Japan. The Nintendo bulletins echoes strikes by Sony and Microsoft, who've slashed the price of the PlayStation three (PS3) and Xbox 360 because the countdown to Christmas buying begins.

© information.bbc.co.uk

Value fixing capability of Console Producers

Begg and Ward (2010) state the potential for failure in collusion if the product is differentiated.

The key drawback for the three corporations from getting into any type of collusive settlement is the existence of heavy product differentiation. PS3 caters to a clientele which is extra inclined in direction of the prime quality video playback capabilities of a Blu-Ray format together with a plethora of unique recreation titles for its consoles, an Xbox 360 makes use of a twin layer DVD format and caters to an viewers which is extra inclined in direction of the unique x360 titles that the console has to supply (for instance followers of the Halo sequence can solely play the sport on an Xbox 360 console) and eventually a Wii caters to a clientele that's extra inclined in direction of the movement sensing video games catalogue that the Wii has to supply.

The opportunity of getting into a worth fixing cartel can also be non-existent since worth fixing would both negatively impression a specific firm’s financial equilibrium or the product’s strategical positioning in market. Fixing the worth to a revenue maximizing degree which is both nearer to Nintendo Wii’s worth level or Sony PS3’s worth level would result in extra losses on each sale of Sony’s PS3 console or negatively impression the gross sales of the technically inferior Nintendo Wii respectively. Subsequently as a result of existence of heavy product differentiation, Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony will not be in a position to type a collusive collaboration with each other and achieve supernormal income.