Can the key to a successful business be video games?

Canada is no stranger to video games. The country is home to 16.4 million gamers playing an average of almost eight hours per week. For many, video games are a way to unwind from a stressful day or fill time during a hectic commute.

For others, however, video games have become a tool for growing their businesses. Many organizations have found ways to incorporate video games into their operations, including using revenue-generation simulators and training tools as learning resources for employees. Some companies are even supplying workers with video games to increase productivity.

Read ahead to learn how organizations are improving their businesses’ operational performance with video games.

Business Simulators

A business simulator is a video game that simulates running a business. The mechanics usually involve a high degree of resource management, requiring users to run a virtual business while earning as much profit as possible.

In these simulators, failing results in the player being punished. Sometimes, if a player fails a scenario, they must redo it, allowing them to learn from their mistakes.

Other times, the simulator gently nudges the player into an ongoing learning process. For example, if they spend too much money on an idea, it may not generate a large profit, but they will not fail the simulation. This approach can gamify earning money by employing positive reinforcement in the learning process.

In an article published on LinkedIn, Will Sawney, head of marketing at The Conexus Group, explains writes that he uses the 1999 game Roller Coaster Tycoon as a business simulator to learn about various business components, including profits and losses, staff management, long-term strategic planning and crisis management.

Training tools

Some companies also use video games for training purposes.

In an article published by Training Magazine in 2020, Dan Martin, a long-time digital marketer, explained that incorporating video games at work can help increase learning retention and productivity.

Martin also said he believes that video games offer a more engaging training format, as opposed to training videos which workers may perceive as boring.

Spark City, Walmart’s video game training program, is one example of an interactive and engaging training resource. In 2019, the company rolled out this application to teach department managers and supervisors about key business variables, including price changes and customer interaction strategies.

Research also supports the philosophy of using video games as training tools. According to a study by the University of North Texas, workers who used video games in their training had better motivation, engagement, performance, and retention.

Though not a substitute for hands-on, real-world training, companies can successfully use video games to support their overall training goals.

Embrace video games as recreation

Instead of viewing video games as business simulators or training tools, some companies embrace them as recreational activities.

One sector where this is common is the tech space. Work Life reports that some companies actively encourage their employees to play video games with their co-workers in the middle of the day, believing that it increases productivity and morale.

Research supports these claims. A 2018 study by Brigham Young University found that newly formed teams were 20 per cent more productive when playing 45 minutes of video games when compared to more traditional team-building exercises.

Despite the benefits, some companies and leaders are unsure about integrating video games into the workplace.

Workopolis reports that some leaders view game rooms as “a relic of the Dot Com era.” Additionally, the article explains that in some environments, video game rooms end up acting as a symbol of a forward-thinking company rather than a room that employees actually use.

They’re not for everyone

Although many businesses successfully use video games in their ventures, it may not be feasible for every organization.

In workplaces where a casual, collaborative environment is essential to their culture, video games may be a perfect addition. However, video games may not be an appropriate addition for companies with a more formal, independent business model.

Either way, video games can be used for more than just relaxing. They are also a tool for businesses to grow and develop new skills.

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