Business Simulation Games

business simulation games

This is not your average boring tutorial. Yes, business and games hardly ever pair, but this refreshing use of technology is bound to get anyone hooked.

Picture this. You see an ad for a job opening and think you’re a good fit. You click ‘Apply,’ expecting to be directed to a job form. But no, they have something much more interactive in store for you. You are taken to a game room, in a corporate setting, and faced with a situation you would be expected to handle as the role you had just applied for.

Interesting, right? Many companies are shifting towards this dynamic way of screening and recruiting candidates. They assess and analyze your thought process and decision-making skills as you deal with characters in the simulation.

And you, the candidate, are thrown head first in immersive gameplay where you get hands-on experience of what to expect in the role you are applying for.


Welcome to the world of business simulation games! The name isn’t self-explanatory because the use cases go beyond your imagination. So what are these simulation games that don’t involve racing cars, shooting guns, or blasting off buildings? These aren’t for an adrenaline rush, but they are intellectually stimulating. 

Business simulation games are tools used for learning and play where you are responsible for running a virtual company, handling your tasks, dealing with people, and facing the consequences of your decisions at every step. We develop them to enhance your leadership and training capabilities and give you a holistic view of organizational challenges resulting from different employees’ actions.

A Little Background for You! 

The concept of playing business games for experiential learning is well known, but from where did it come about?

Business games such as board games and war games go as far back as 3000 BC in China, and they grew in popularity from the 17th century onwards. 

Who hasn’t heard of Monopoly? In 1903, Lizzie Morgan invented the “The Landlord’s Game’ to reflect and expose the landlords’ land-grabbing tactics and how they amassed their riches at the expense of poor tenants. She then sold the rights to Parker Brothers for $500, and they turned it into- what we know as today- Monopoly.

It wasn’t until 1955 that modern business simulation games came around. Rand Corporation developed exercises for U.S Airforce logistics, and since then, simulations have been practical for aviation and healthcare industries. With that, the popularity of business games grew, and people incorporated them into courses taught at business schools. This integration of games with coursework supplemented the traditional form of learning from pamphlets, lectures, and textbooks and allowed students to glimpse real-world scenarios in a virtual environment.

The Need for Simulation Games:

According to Dale’s famous learning theory, students remember 10% of what they hear, 20% of what they read, and 50% of what they see and hear. You would think this guy is correct, but his theory could not be validated.

The modern learning taxonomy (Bloom’s Taxonomy) proposes something different. It says that the learning process is complex and divides it into the hierarchical steps of a pyramid. The higher you go on the pyramid, the more ‘super’ your learning level is.

Bloom’s taxonomy implies learning isn’t just about recalling facts and comprehending concepts. It is also about critical thinking and producing new work. This could be how business simulation games can help you reach that level.

It should inspire students to reach the pyramid’s tip and take their learning beyond the classroom walls.

How do we make that happen?

By engaging students in real play with more complex activities.

This is where these games come in, and this is why we need them to be able to assess, design, and create businesses/startups in a safe setting. In business simulation games, students are met with exciting lifelike scenarios they have to handle, which engage them in critical thinking and empower their intuitive decision-making skills. These games are the kind of complex activity Bloom’s taxonomy says learners must indulge in to gain a deep understanding of a subject.

Benefits of Business Simulation Games

They say children learn best through play. This is, in most cases, true for adults as well. It takes far fewer neural synapses to retain some information from an activity rather than by reading about it. Simply put, you learn best when you get your hands dirty, and business simulation games give you a customized environment.

Here are a few ways how business simulation games can help with their proven benefits.

  1. Develop leadership skills: These games build your enterprise-level skills to equip you to solve problems. You get to hone the interpersonal and intrapersonal skills necessary to thrive in the corporate world. A well-executed concept simulation game will help improve your-
    • Communication
    • Teamwork
    • Negotiation
    • Problem-solving
    • Leadership
    • Empathy 
  2. Experiential learning: Benefits of business simulation games focuses mainly on acquiring special skills as they allow students to experience and encounter situations before they happen in real life. You get to experiment with business hypotheses and test them with different variants. Experiential learning makes sure you:
    • Get ample experience
    • Learn strategy
    • Get decision-making skills
    • Get better learning outcomes
  3. Practice without risk: You don’t learn without making mistakes. Making mistakes is an essential part of learning something new. If you want to build your startup, you could form one in a simulation and see what works best. It will not have real-world drawbacks even if you run it to the ground. This allows you to avoid common pitfalls in real life.
  4. Multi-disciplinary learning: Most business courses are taught as stand-alone subjects, like finance, marketing, and communication. It is rare for students to explore cross-disciplines in a real-life setting g. Business simulation games enable learners to see how different departments interact with each other and how decisions made in one sector affect workflow and performances in others. 

How Can It Help in Achieving a Company’s Objectives?

Companies and businesses require simulation games to meet two of their most important objectives:

  1. Leadership development training
  2. Accelerate strategic change

Leadership development training:

Business demands fluctuate rapidly. Consequently, leadership development training curricula must be on the mark to bridge the skills gap between future leaders and the dynamic business landscape. There are complicated learning requirements that are not taught in the classroom. Business acumen, analytical thinking, systems thinking, and empathy are some sought-after traits that a person accumulates with experience. As a result, leadership training managers are utilizing simulation games to prepare leaders of tomorrow for their organization.

Participants are allowed to take on a position of authority, navigate their company, and learn from their mistakes.

Accelerate strategic change:

When an organization is going through change, 70% of change initiatives fail. According to a study by McKinsey and Company, failure is primarily due to poor management and lack of employee engagement. For an organizational change to be effective, leaders must adjust their behavior and mindset toward the direction of change. Yes, you guessed that right. Simulation tools can help with that. 

So, before implementing strategic change in an organization, managers now run it through simulation games and engage employees at all levels to participate. This activity helps the organization transition through change when implemented in the real world; everyone knows what to expect and how to act.

Types of Business Simulations: 

We have a generic idea of what business games are and their expectations. If you think they are interactive, allow you to be creative, and provide a high level of learning, then you are right. But what most people do not know is that these simulation games come in different formats.

You get to choose your area of expertise and put theory into practice!

  1. Marketing Simulations: Geared towards marketing professionals and aspiring students, marketing simulation games allow you to put different theories to the test without any risk involved. You also make difficult decisions under pressure and time constraints to test your mettle.

Marketing simulation games are best suited for businesses that are about to launch new products or a brand. They get to analyze their competitors to adjust their position in the market better.

  1. Digital Marketing Simulations: With a boom in social media, the advertisement industry has widely shifted gears to keep pace with social trends. With many organizations spending billions on digital marketing, it is only wise to test these ads in a sandbox before spending dollars on your digital campaigns. 

Digital marketing simulations are strategic opportunities to test your marketing activities on social media, search engines, and in-app targeting. 

  1. Business strategy simulations: one of the most popular themes amongst simulations, business strategy games have grown in popularity in the 21st century. For most people, strategic thinking is an acquired skill rather than an innate ability- and no other technological advancement enhances it more than simulated environments. Strategic simulations benefit all—students, professionals, and entire industries that rely on strategic skill development of their workforce to stay ahead of the competition.
  1. Sales and Negotiation Simulations: you cannot run a successful business if your sales team is not up to the mark. While most business games are generalized, the sales and negotiation training simulations are not. They are more focused on creating value in the long run alongside making effective sales. 

If you are a salesperson, you probably second-guess yourself. It is pretty natural to do that. Sales simulations enable you to understand yourself better and feel confident in your skin. You get to test your sales pitch and practices and see what works and what doesn’t. It is an ultimate confidence-building activity, among other things.

Challenges Faced in Business Simulation Games:

Though business games are an effective teaching method, they have their setbacks too. 

Oversimplifications of reality

The challenge most simulation games face is that no matter how intricately they are designed, they model only a part of reality. It is practically impossible to implement the complexities inherent in a business situation.

Playing and winning business games does not equate to gaining experience.

Players’ lack of responsibility

Another challenge of business simulation games is that many players may not take simulation games seriously and, therefore, will not weigh their decisions with as much consideration as they would in real life. Since no risk is involved, participants will be tempted to act rashly and make decisions in a snap.


Reliable and authentic business gameplay can be costly. Costs can include designing a graphically rich gaming experience together with developers and business professionals of relevant qualifications. Creating a high-fidelity model and hiring an able instructor or facilitator for training can lead to millions in expenses.

Participants may not behave the same in real and virtual events

We tune our brains to treat games as fun and entertainment. Even though business simulation games are for serious learning, participants may not give them their full attention. This leads to rule-breaking and is counterintuitive to the objective of the training.

Who Uses Business Simulation Games?

A lot many higher education institutions, business schools, organizations, corporate firms, and coaches use Business Simulation Games and benefit from its corporate-like fun features. 

Contact us if your organization needs a simulation for training and development activities. Gamenary specializes in game development and gamification of processes. Select a platform or framework of your choice, or let us take care of that. We build high-quality games with rich graphics and a high frame rate that works across multiple platforms and feel incredibly seamless as you explore the game worlds we create.