Do Companies Use Game Theory?


Vincent White

Game theory is a mathematical approach to analyzing situations where different individuals or organizations have conflicting interests. It is a tool used by economists, political scientists, and other social scientists to understand decision-making in various contexts. But the big question is, do companies use game theory?

The answer is yes. Many companies use game theory to make strategic decisions. For instance, when two companies are competing for market share, they may use game theory to determine the best pricing strategy for their products. Game theory can help them analyze how their competitors will react to different prices and adjust their own prices accordingly.

Another way that companies use game theory is in negotiating with suppliers or customers. Game theory can help them anticipate how the other party will behave and develop strategies that will give them an advantage in the negotiation.

Examples of Game Theory in Business

  • Airline Industry: Airlines often use game theory to determine ticket prices. They consider factors such as demand, competitor pricing, and historical data to set fares that maximize revenue.
  • Tech Industry: In the tech industry, companies such as Google and Facebook use game theory in their advertising auctions.

    Advertisers bid on ad space based on what they think it’s worth, and Google or Facebook uses an algorithm based on game theory principles to select the winning bidder.

  • Retail Industry: Retailers also use game theory in their pricing strategies. For example, they may offer discounts on products during a specific time frame to encourage customers to buy more items than they would otherwise.

The Benefits of Using Game Theory in Business

Using game theory can provide several benefits for businesses:

  • Better decision-making: By using game theory, companies can make more informed decisions based on a deeper understanding of the dynamics of a situation.
  • Competitive advantage: Companies that use game theory can develop strategies that give them an advantage over their competitors.
  • Improved negotiation outcomes: By anticipating how the other party will behave, companies can negotiate from a position of strength and achieve better outcomes.


Game theory is a powerful tool that can help businesses make better decisions, gain a competitive advantage, and achieve improved negotiation outcomes. By understanding the principles of game theory and applying them in strategic decision-making, companies can increase their chances of success. So if you’re running a business or working in one, it’s important to consider using game theory to improve your decision-making process.