Title: Whatever happened to the 'great escape'? Lessons from the rise and decline of the pinball ecosystem

Authors: Albéric Tellier

Addresses: Institut d'Administration des Entreprises, University of Caen Normandy, 3, rue Claude Bloch, CS 25160, 14075 Caen Cedex 5, France

Abstract: The aim of this article is to contribute to a better understanding of the dynamic of business ecosystems (BE) and, more particularly, to identify mechanisms that contribute to their decline. We conduct an historical study of the pinball ecosystem, which experienced steady growth over 60 years and then nearly disappeared. First, it is shown that the pinball case is particularly suitable for the analysis of BE. The major BE characteristics can be identified: a value proposition created by an alignment of partners, the central role played by the platform, the presence of three types of members, and interactions among actors that are based on coopetition. Then, the analysis reveals two factors that explain the decline: keystones' inability to change their business models and their substantial dependence on dominators. The historical perspective also allows us to distinguish certain specific periods in BE decline.

Keywords: business ecosystem; business model; case study; coopetition; dominators; historical approach; keystones; lifecycle; niche players; pinball; platform.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.2017.085691

International Journal of Technology Management, 2017 Vol.75 No.1/2/3/4, pp.121 - 141

Received: 23 Oct 2014
Accepted: 06 Sep 2015

Published online: 08 Aug 2017 *

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