EE204: Business Management for
Electrical Engineers and Computer Scientists

The Five Competitive Forces


  1. The Five Competitive Forces That Shape Strategy (HBS course materials)
  2. Note on Team Process (HBS course materials)
  3. Product Lifecycle
  4. Wii Encore? (HBS course materials)

Case Summary

Nintendo faced huge difficulties in July 2011. Sony's PlayStation and Microsoft's Xbox had caught up with the innovative motion-sensing controllers of the original Wii. And the new Nintendo 3DS handheld console had experienced a very disappointing start. Moreover, videogame consoles (particularly handheld ones) were facing increasing substitution from online and mobile games played on social networks and/or mobile phones (e.g. Zynga's Farmville). First, could Nintendo come up with a novel and innovative console once again (a Wii Encore) in order to escape head-to-head competition against its two larger rivals (Sony and Microsoft)? Second, how could Nintendo fend off the new substitutes, which were competing for a large portion of its customers?

Discussion Questions

  1. Describe the evolution of the video game industry in terms of competition, technology, and lifecycle.
  2. Describe the competitive forces before the Wii was introduced. How did the Wii change them?
  3. Describe the competitive forces at the end of the case. What are the consequences of these changes?
  4. What might account for the profitability difference in Exhibit 2b? (See the footnote for the exhibit) What information can be gained from this exhibit regarding strategies and market attractiveness of the video game industry?
  5. What do you see as the future of dedicated game console hardware?
  6. What are your recommendations to the CEO of Nintendo? What can the company do to come up with something new once again in order to compete with its two larger rivals?

SCPD Students

See the SCPD Resource Page for general information on assignment submission, team building, expectations, and getting help. See the SCPD Grading Page for evaluation procedures for daily written assignments.

Written work should be submitted using SCPD Homework Processing procedures.

All times listed below are PDT (California time).

  1. Complete the assigned readings and submit answers to the Discussion Questions in Writeup 1 (1 page) by 9am Tuesday 4/10/2012.
  2. The videotaped class meeting should be available via SCPD by 2pm, Tuesday 4/10/2012.
  3. Watch the video of the class meeting and meet with your team to discuss.
  4. Submit Writeup 2 (1-2 pages) by 9pm Sunday 4/15/2012. This writeup should include the following:
    • A summary of the main points of the class discussion
    • Any points from the discussion that you found particularly enlightening or disagreed with
    • A discussion of how your initial responses did or did not align with the direction of the class discussion
    • A revised go-forward strategy for Nintendo