I have seen many games and tech companies fail even though their product is better. Related, I have written why fast following is almost always a doomed strategy. A classic article from 2006 in the Harvard Business Review, “ Eager Sellers and Stony Buyers” by John Gourville, does a great job of explaining why new products need to be 9X better to disrupt and succeed.
There are thousands of companies trying to build a better mousetrap, be it a more appealing version of Clash of Clans, a better taxi service than Uber or a better marketplace than eBay. While research has shown that businesses that introduce new products are more likely to flourish than those that do not, new products fail at a rate of 40-90 percent depending on the category. One study showed that 47 percent of first movers failed, meaning that approximately half the companies that pioneered new product categories later pulled out of those businesses.
These statistics beg the question: “Why do consumers fail to buy innovative products even when they offer clear improvements over existing ones?” Few would question the objective advantages of many innovations over existing alternatives, but that is often not enough for them to succeed. To understand why new products fail to live up to companies’ expectations, Gourville delved into the psychology of behavior change. Continue reading “Why a new product or game has to be 9X better”