|Genre(s)||Business simulation game|
Markstrat is a simulation game, created by Jean-Claude Larréché, that lets the players take control of a virtual corporation; making decisions on its behalf. Jean-Claude Larréché and Professor Hubert Gatignon developed the simulation from 1974 to 1977. After the game was developed it was distributed on an ad-hoc basis by INSEAD. The game is widely known, and played in over 500 academic institutions, including 8 of the top 10 international business schools and 25 of the top 30 in the US. The players of the simulation have to make number of decisions, in marketing, finance, research and development areas, in order to achieve a better performance than the competing players who also take control of a company.
Structure and gameplay
The simulation generally consists of ten periods, in an industry that contains six companies. Each of these companies - labelled by letters - are player groups that consist of 3 to 6 people. All the companies in the industry start the simulation in the same situation with same products, which are artificial products called sonites. As the game progresses the companies get the chance to develop better products or enter a new market, which is a market for another artificial product called vodite. Unlike the sonite market the vodite market is a new market so the decisions and the actions of the players affect this market differently than the developed sonite market. The players use a wide array of market knowledge, which can be bought as Marketing Research Studies in order to make decisions.
This area of decisions is the most elaborate one. The players should give verdicts on the amount of production of a certain product, advertisement budget of a product, and the target segments and targeted qualities of the advertisement. The marketing decisions also include the number of sales force for each product that can be allocated to various sale centers such as specialty stores, department stores and mass merchandisers.
Research & development decisions
The competing companies also have the chance to create new products to reach various market segments and increase their market share. The characteristics of the products can be changed and made more attractive for the targeted segment. These research projects can either modify the existing products or create new products.
Marketing research decisions
The players also have the chance to conduct market research and gather information on their customers, their habits and their interests. Many research studies also exist to apprehend the moves competitor groups make. The marketing research makes this information available to companies and the players can purchase the research studies they want.
On every period the players must submit certain decisions that will affect the progress of their company in the following period. The only time the players can interact with the situation of their company is in the beginning of a period. After the decisions are submitted, the players wait for the results of the next period. Companies’ cumulative net contribution, stock price index, market capitalization and market share are mostly used to measure the performances of the players.
The uses of the game
The game, a good measure for performance under pressure, is mostly used to assess the group dynamics and decision-making processes of the players. It is widely used in universities, incorporated in a certain class such as Marketing or Finance. Often, the results from the simulation reflect a certain portion of the grade. The game was originally built for MBA students to play, however, because of its ease of use, the simulation became widespread and started being used for both undergraduate and graduate students. Many multinational corporations also use it to assess their employee's skills.