What is Game Theory? Description
Game Theory is a special branch of mathematics which has been developed
for studying decisionmaking in complex circumstances. Game theory tries to
predict outcomes based on interactive models in which the decisions of each
party affect the decisions of the other parties. The meaning of "Game" here
is: a move by one player will result in moves by others. The idea historically
dates back to the Talmud and Sun Tzu's writings. However, the contemporary
codification is attributed to John von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern.
They published the Theory of Games and Economic Behavior in 1944. In the early
1950s, John Nash generalized their results and provided the basis of
the modern field of Game Theory. A rapid rise in theoretical developments
led to the founding of the first academic magazine devoted to the field by
Oskar Morgenstern in 1972. Few corporations nowadays think about their strategy
without adding some game theory models or game elements into their strategy
process.
Game theory can be defined as the study of how people interact and make
decisions. This broad definition applies to most of the social sciences, but
game theory applies mathematical models to this interaction under the assumption
that each person's behavior impacts the wellbeing of all other participants
in the game. These models are often quite simplified abstractions of realworld
interactions. While many game theorists certainly enjoy playing games, a "game"
is an abstract representation of many serious situations and has a serious
purpose.
Usage of Game Theory. Applications
 Preparing business negotiations.
 Analyzing future market conditions.
 Strategic decisionmaking.
 Assess the viability of a new venture, business model, program, project,
product, service or technology.
Assumptions in Game Theory
A major issue with game theory is: it is necessary to make assumptions.
Any model of the real world must make assumptions that simplify the reality,
because the real world is too complex to analyze with any precision. There
is a constant tradeoff between realism and the technical capability to solve
problems. Even if one could write down a model that accurately describes how
people make decisions in general, no amount of computers would be able to
calculate it.
What assumptions are made normally? The usual assumptions are:
 Rationality. People take whatever actions are likely to make them more
happy. And they know what makes them happy.
 Common knowledge. We know that everyone is trying to make himself as
happy as possible, potentially at our expense.
These assumptions take many mathematical forms, from very strong (and likely
unrealistic) towards much weaker forms in the study of behavioral game theory.
Experimental economics examines the validity of these assumptions by seeing
how real people act in controlled environments.
Example of Game Theory
The most widely known example of game theory is probably the Prisoner's
Dilemma: A zerosum game cooperation game that got its name from the following
hypothetical situation: imagine two criminals arrested under the suspicion
of having committed a crime together. However, the police does not have sufficient
proof to have them convicted. The two prisoners are being isolated from each
other, and the police offers each of them a deal: the person that offers evidence
against the other one will be freed. If none of them accepts the offer, they
are in fact cooperating against the police, and both of them will get only
a small punishment because of lack of proof. They will both win. However,
if one person betrays the other, by confessing to the police, he will gain
more, since he is freed. The one who remained silent, on the other hand, will
receive the full punishment, since he did not help the police, and there is
sufficient proof. If both betray, both will be punished, but less severely
than if they had refused to talk. The dilemma resides in the fact that each
prisoner has a choice between only two options. But
they can not make a good decision, without knowing what the other person will
do.

Game Theory in Communities
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Game Theory Calculations
A person has a utility function defined over her wealth given by
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What are the Uses of Game Theory? List of Usages
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Game Theory and Oligopolistic Competition
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Types of Game Theory
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Game Theory Cases in Strategy?
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Can Game Theory deal with Bounded Rationality?
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Is Business Strategy a NonZeroSum Game?
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Game Theory vs. SWOT Analysis in the Strategy Process
A major advantage of Game Theory over SWOT analysis when preparing a business strategy is the possibility of INTERACTION between your own firm and other firms.
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Game Theory in Business
Issue #46 of S+B has an interview with Prof. Nalebuff, well known for bringing game theory into the realm of business. According to N. there are 2 reasons why extending game theory to business requires an intellectual leap:
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