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The Blue Ocean that disappeared – the case of Nintendo Wii

Svend Hollensen (based at University of Southern Denmark, Sønderborg, Denmark)

Journal of Business Strategy

ISSN: 0275-6668

Article publication date: 2 September 2013




The purpose with this article is to analyze the “Blue Ocean” phenomenon in depth. The goal is to better understand the underlying dynamic strategies in the form of interactions between theory and management practices.


Single case study, Nintendo, which strategy is being confronted with the strategies of the two competitors, Sony and Microsoft. This is done in order to distinguish the value propositions of the three players in the game console industry


The main finding is that even if a company can create a Blue Ocean very fast with the right value proposition at the right time, it may be short-termed and may be transformed into a Red Ocean again within 1-2 years, unless the company's competitiveness is safe-guarded.

Practical implications

The results show, that Nintendo started out with a Red Ocean around 2005 with their GameCube. Then they turned it into a Blue Ocean with their introduction of “Wii” in November 2006. But Nintendo could not prevent Sony and Microsoft in turning it back to a Red Ocean, with their introduction of similar product features (motion controls), but at better quality. If Nintendo will be able to reestablish the Blue Ocean with their introduction of the “Wii U” in November 2012 is questionable.


There is constantly a need for reformulating the strategy through a dynamic and creative process, in order not to turn the Blue Ocean into a Red Ocean again.



Hollensen, S. (2013), "The Blue Ocean that disappeared – the case of Nintendo Wii", Journal of Business Strategy, Vol. 34 No. 5, pp. 25-35.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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