Case | HBS Case Collection | October 2009 (Revised July 2012)

Emotiv Systems Inc.: It's the Thoughts that Count

by Elie Ofek, Jason Riis and Paul Hamilton


Emotiv is getting ready to launch its innovative brain-computer interfacing (BCI) technology. The company has developed a special headset, called EPOC, and highly sophisticated software that can translate a person's emotions, cognitive thoughts, and facial expressions into digital outcomes. Emotiv wants the technology to be adopted by mainstream consumers and is leaning towards the video game market as its primary initial target. However, it needs to decide whether to continue efforts to convince one of the big three console makers (PS3, Xbox 360, Wii) to enable the EPOC on their platform or to settle for the PC gaming market. Alternatively, the company could have chosen a number of different markets to focus on (such as medical, military, market research). A host of additional marketing decisions need to be made (pricing, channels, bundling a demo game). The case allows students to grapple with the issues of selecting a target application for the launch of an innovation, determining the importance of having a big name partner for the launch by an unknown start-up, considering the wisdom of taking a B2C rather than B2B approach with a novel technology, and using analogous products to forecast demand and sales for a new technology.

Keywords: Technology Adoption; Sales; Technological Innovation; Demand and Consumers; Marketing Strategy; Partners and Partnerships; Entrepreneurship; Forecasting and Prediction; Product Launch; Business Startups; Technology Industry;


Ofek, Elie, Jason Riis, and Paul Hamilton. "Emotiv Systems Inc.: It's the Thoughts that Count." Harvard Business School Case 510-050, October 2009. (Revised July 2012.)