Okayama Economic Review
Published by the Economic Association of Okayama University


Koyama, Yasuhiro
The purpose of this paper is to examine one of the functions which entrepreneurs may play in the course of industrial development through a case study of Japan’s RPG development race. As Japan’s toy manufacturers often said, their market was characteristic of its small size and considerable demand volatility in comparison to other consumer products. Entrepreneurs must have seen any commitment to a cutting edge product, video games, as only a gamble and therefore behaved in a trial−and−error way. Furthermore, judging from the fact that no one could imagine the video game would come to turn over ¥1500 billion in 20 years, the firm level trial−and−errors and their subsequent variety of strategies on the industry level must have been the key to understand the unexpected market growth and technical evolution. However, recent management thoughts told us that the strategic variety in an industry could be possibly indulged by various pressures towards homogeneity. Such counter powers are referred to as organizational isomorphism, strategic bandwagon effects and so on. To examine those pressures which drive entrepreneurs back and forth towards strategic variety, this paper looks at the structural characteristics which underlie the way entrepreneurs see things in an uncertain environment. The case analysis takes the view that the video game industry was so uncertain that nothing could affect so deterministically entrepreneurs’ behaviours other than their perceptions. As a conclusion here, this paper points out some tradeoffs underlying the two different strategies which the twin peaks of Japanese RPG producers, Square and Enix, employed to meet with the uncertainty of the infant RPG market. It also argues that these tradeoffs based on two different perceptions might have kept their startups from the isomorphic indulgence. As a more prospective argument, questioned is the quality of strategic variety which is often deemed as an unquestionable remedy to industrial stagnation.
研究ノート (Note)