Institute for Strategy, Technology and Organization (ISTO)

Language Selection

Breadcrumb Navigation


Ars Technica reports about a recent paper by three ISTO researchers

Will the PlayStation Vita's missing backward compatibility cost Sony sales?


Science is dry and without any connection to reality?

The technology blog Ars Technica proves that black is white and shows the practical relevance of empirical research by pointing to a current working paper on backward compatibility written by Jörg Claussen, Tobias Kretschmer and Thomas Spengler. The findings of that paper hint to potential problems for Sony's recent handheld console, the PlayStation Vita, that might be caused by its limited backward compatibility:

"In May of 2010, Munich School of Management faculty Jörg Claussen, Tobias Kretschmer and Thomas Spengler published 'Market leadership through technology - Backward compatibility in the U.S. Handheld Video Game Industry'. Over 25 pages, the paper lays out a formula for estimating a portable console's eventual market share based on everything from backward compatibility and system price to the size and age of its game library and even the unit's physical weight (as a rough measure of portability).

The goal was to try to separate out how much of a portable system's success is driven by the ability to play a large library of the previous generation's games, and how much is instead driven by other factors. Previous papers have run similar analyses for other industries, finding, for example, that a hypothetical audio CD standard that included backward compatibility with vinyl records 'would have accelerated diffusion by 1.5 years.'

By applying their model to actual NPD sales data from the middle of the original Game Boy's reign in 1995 through to the rise of the PSP in 2007, the paper made a number of key findings that could apply to the Vita."


Curious for more? The full-length article at Ars Technica and the working paper are linked below!