Platform Architecture and Quality Tradeoffs of Multihoming Complements

Carmelo Cennamo, H. Ozalp, Tobias Kretschmer

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Multihoming – the decision to design a complement to operate on multiple platforms – is becoming increasingly common in many platform markets. Perceived wisdom suggests that multihoming is beneficial for complement providers as they expand their market reach, but it reduces differentiation among competing platforms as the same complements become available on different platforms. We argue that complement providers face tradeoffs when designing their products for multiple platform architectures – they must decide how far to specialize the complement to each platform technological specifications. Because of these tradeoffs, multihoming complements can have different quality performance across platforms. In a study of the US video game industry, we find that multihoming games have lower quality performance on a technologically more complex console than on a less complex one. Also, games designed for and released on a focal platform have lower quality performance on platforms they are subsequently multihomed to. However, games that are released on the complex platform with a delay suffer a smaller drop in quality on complex platforms. This has important implications for platform competition, and for managers considering expanding their reach through multihoming.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-478
Number of pages18
JournalInformation Systems Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • complement quality
  • cospecialization
  • multihoming
  • platform architecture
  • platform complexity
  • platforms
  • video games


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