Do Tic-tac-toe games have a first-mover advantage?

In-game, first-mover sets the tone for the opponent. In the Tic tac toe game, the first player marks squares with X crosses, and the other uses O (circles). The first player to complete a row or column with either X crosses or circles is considered the winner.

The first-mover is usually advantaged in this game because they can easily identify which column to complete, or which to cross to prevent the opponent from winning.

What is the first-mover advantage?

In economics, first-mover advantage refers to the advantage of an entity or company gains by introducing its product or service to the market first before its competitors. The first-mover can establish brand loyalty and recognition which may grant it a competitive advantage over new entrants.

Advantages of first-movers

  • Ability to establish their product as the industry standard which means that the new entrants have to keep the standard to attract customers
  • Making the first impression to customers which creates brand loyalty and recognition
  • Control resources and raw materials and when possible create monopoly power
  • Make it costly for the customers to switch to new entrants

Disadvantages of first-movers

  • Difficult to persuade customers to try the product since it is new in the industry
  • It can make mistakes that are used by later entrants to gain an upper hand competitively
  • Later entrants can identify areas the first-mover has failed to maximize and take advantage of it
  • The later entrants can re-engineer the products and make them better than the existing product

Examples of first-movers: Google, Starbucks.

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