Play it again, Sam? Versioning in the market for second-hand video game software

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    Information goods are characterised by high fixed costs and low marginal costs of production. A potentially effective strategy which can be adopted by firms operating in such markets is versioning, whereby various features are added or subtracted from a number of distinct versions of the good. This effectively serves as a means of second degree price discrimination designed to extract prices closer to the maximum willingness to pay from different groups of consumers. This study tests the effectiveness of versioning as a means of exploiting differences in willingness to pay in second-hand markets for information goods by undertaking the first hedonic price analysis of video gaming software. The empirical evidence presented in this paper is based on the analysis of an extensive cross-sectional dataset consisting of over five thousand observations of pre-owned video game prices in the US. Controls are introduced for a variety of other observable characteristics, including the quality of the game-play experience, the publisher, genre and theme of the game. The results are consistent with theoretical expectations and demonstrate significant variations in willingness to pay can be exploited through the strategic use of versioning. The practice is therefore argued to represent an effective means by which firms in these markets can enhance revenues.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)526-533
    Number of pages8
    JournalManagerial and Decision Economics
    Issue number4
    Early online date22 Apr 2016
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017


    • Video games
    • versioning
    • information goods
    • hedonic pricing


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