Computational Social Science Seminar – Hype and Conquer: A computational model about winning in the Platform Wars – André L’Huillier

April 13, 2018 @ 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Center for Social Complexity Suite 3rd Floor, Research Hall, Fairfax Campus
Karen Underwood


André L’Huillier, CSS PhD Student
George Mason University

Hype and Conquer: A computational model about winning in the Platform Wars

Friday, April 13,  3:00 p.m.
Center for Social Complexity Suite
3rd Floor, Research Hall

Platform business models like Ali-Baba or Google are disrupting many industries while displaying a ‘winner-takes-all’ behavior. The disruption has been increasing during the last decade thanks to the digital revolution. Although the digital transition is relatively new and is catalyzing the creation of platform markets, it is not new for the video game market. The game industry has dealt with platform dynamics since its very beginnings during the mid 70’s. This long history allows the study of its overall life cycle and the individual cycles of platform generations (a set of competing platforms with similar technology), and specific platforms or games. Understanding how a blockbuster emerges in the market provides insight into the behavior of current and near-future developments of platforms. Uneven competition and its volatility of multi-sided organization have captured the attention of economists and entrepreneurs; specifically, they have focused on the ‘launching problem’ and achieving critical mass adoption. Depending on the goods and services, uncertainty on a product’s performance may force actors to prioritize indicators such as trust and perceived quality. In the case of the video game industry, producers and consumers actions lead towards a ‘winner-takes-all’ or ‘winner-takes-most’ structure. Within the video game market, only a handful of consoles and games emerge as blockbusters and sustain cultural and financial dominance. I will present a computational model that portrays the home console industry as a multi-sided market based on platform economics and individual level social influence and decision making. A rule-based model is presented to reproduce the main behavior of different heterogeneous actors, allowing to understand the moving parts of platforms’ blockbuster emergence. The model studies the influence of mass media and peer-to-peer information in platform and software adoption; focusing on the networked diffusion of information and indirect network effects of actors decisions.