Can Business Games Really Simulate Running a Business?

Posted by Conor Murphy on September 28, 2010 in Game Development -- Share:

Business Games
For most of us, playing games is something we do to escape from the reality of our day-to-day world. Exploring fanciful worlds and embarking on dangerous adventures is enough to turbocharge a gamer’s imagination and mask the daily grind.

You might be surprised to know games are also being used to teach entrepreneurs the ins and outs of business. In fact, the University of Washington Foster School of Business has been using business simulation games in classrooms since as early as 1957.

For some gamers, running a virtual business is the pinnacle of gaming fun. Cash is abundant, customers are plentiful, and development cycles are short. The barriers inherent to business ventures are stripped away leaving behind the excitement of building a ‘profitable’ enterprise.

But, do business simulation games really teach solid business skills? We say yes…if only at a basic level. For those who are new to business and unfamiliar with the basics, business games can offer a solid foundation in terminology, business structure, and cash management. Mastering a good Sim game can allow the player to ‘talk the talk’ if not ‘walk the walk’. Business people need to start somewhere and nobody really enjoys being thrown into the deep end. Business games offer a great way to ‘test the water’ of the business world.

Types of Business Simulation Games

There are several popular sub-genres within the Business game genre. Several focus on construction and management simulation rather than the ins and outs of running a business. These include:

More focused business simulation software also exists from the likes of Simul8 and Forio. The later of which leverages the system dynamics simulation technology developed at MIT. For those that really want to train themselves in the art of business through a game-like simulation, these options are complex, challenging, and educational.

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Conor is a Marketing Manager with Big Fish, working out of the Seattle office. In his spare time he enjoys watching science documentaries and playing old school adventure games. Get in touch with him on Twitter! or Google+