What are Business Simulation Games?

Business simulation games are experiential learning tools that can be used for education or leisure. They allow people to run a virtual company and learn by making decisions, analysing results and dealing with consequences. 

Business games trace back to board and war games in China (3000 BC – Wolfe 1993). Modern business simulation games first appeared in 1955 when the Rand Corporation developed an exercise focusing on U.S. Air Force logistics. 

Simulation-based learning has been proven valuable in industries such as healthcare and aviation. As a result, the popularity of computer-based business simulation games has grown. 

What are the benefits of business simulation games? 

Business simulation games allow people to learn by doing. Unlike a textbook, a simulation engages and empowers people. When using a simulation, participants are placed at the centre of an active learning exercise where they are required to make their own decisions and manage the consequences.

A well-designed, authentic business simulation game helps learners develop enterprise and entrepreneurship skills, including:

  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Problem solving
  • Leadership
  • Negotiation

For educators and trainers, simulations help demonstrate business theory working in practice by allowing learners to experience key concepts first-hand.

Students who respond ‘less well’ to traditional teaching methods, may be positively drawn to business simulations because they trigger and excite different neural pathways. As a result, many academics and instructors report higher levels of student engagement and learner satisfaction. 

As online business simulations can be used remotely or in-person at any time, they also offer greater flexibility to both trainers and students.

Business simulation games being used in the office.

Who uses business simulation games? 

Business simulations are used by a variety of organisations and individuals including:

  • Higher and further education institutions
  • Corporate firms
  • Business coaches
  • Independent learners

Several basic ‘Monopoly-style’ business sims exist as apps which are aimed at the consumer gaming market. Whereas, serious computer-based business simulations that offer greater depth and supporting resources, are becoming increasingly popular in the education and corporate training sectors. 

More employers are finding that graduate and MBA hires have acquired knowledge and experience using a business simulator. The private and public sectors are also increasingly turning to effective online learning to save money, time, and reduce their carbon footprint. 

The greatest use of business simulation games is in higher education, although traditional ‘sage on the stage’ approaches have prevented greater growth. 

However, COVID-19 and the move to mass online learning has catalysed a change in academic thinking. The use of business simulation software is set to grow considerably. 

How computer-based business simulations are used 

Universities and colleges use simulators in class and on distance learning modules. A high quality simulation lets learners collaborate from different locations. They also allow instructors and trainers to communicate with and assess people remotely. 

Within the corporate sector, simulators are used to support recruitment, train new recruits, fast-track employees and as the foundation for an event or team-building day. 

As an immersive learning tool, educators and trainers recognise that business simulation software can develop a range of business skills for learners. Quality resources also foster soft skill development and the building of enterprise, innovation and entrepreneurial talent. 

Business simulation game in action at Loughborough University.

How our business simulation games can help you 

If you are looking for a high quality online business game that engages learners authentically, consider the highly popular and powerful ‘SimVenture Evolution’

Evolution allows people to run a bicycle manufacturing company for up to 10 simulated years (up to 40 turns). Users work solo or in groups from any location and can be set a variety of challenges involving starting, managing or scaling the virtual organisation. 

Developed ahead of Evolution, SimVenture Classic is a multi-award winning off-line simulator allowing people to start and run a micro-computer business for 3 simulated years (36 turns). Classic is designed to support any business start-up training. 

How much do simulations cost? 

Business simulation game licenses can cost as little as £20 + VAT. 

The prices of our simulations are published on the company website for transparency.

Generous volume discounts are available especially on site licenses, and technical and training support always accompanies purchase. For peace of mind, trainers and tutors can request free on-line demos and evaluation licenses in advance of any decision.