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3 Examples of a Positive-Sum Game

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A positive-sum game is a competitive situation that results in total gains that exceed total loses. This allows for win-win outcomes whereby all participants win. It is also possible for some or most participants to lose. The following are illustrative examples.


Five firms in an industry compete for customers collectively generating $5 billion in sales each quarter. The largest firm dominates with 80% market share and is the only firm in the industry that generates a net profit.


A computer science program has 90 students. The program normalizes grades such that only a small percentage can obtain an A average. Nevertheless, most students graduate and benefit from the program in terms of knowledge and career prospects.


An employee and firm negotiate salary. The employee does well in negotiations and gets a better salary than they would have been willing to accept. Nonetheless, the firm goes on to make profits on the employee's productive output resulting in a win-win outcome.
Overview: Positive-Sum Game
A competitive situation that results in total gains that exceed total loses.
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