Business Management Simulations – a detailed industry analysis as well as recommendations for the future

Michael Batko


Being exposed to serious games showed that some simulations widely vary in quality and learning outcome. In order to get to the bottom of best practices a detailed review of business management simulation literature was conducted. Additionally, an industry analysis was performed, by interviewing 17 simulation companies, testing a range of full and demo games, and conducting secondary research. The findings from both research efforts were then collated and cross-referenced against each other in order to determine three things: firstly, the practices and features used by simulation companies that have not yet been the subject of academic research; secondly, the most effective features, elements and inclusions within simulations that best assist in the achievement of learning outcomes and enhancement the user experience; and finally, ‘best practices’ in teaching a business management course in a university or company with the assistance of a simulation. Identified gaps in the current research were found to include the effectiveness of avatars, transparent pricing and the benefits of competing the simulation against other teams as opposed to the computer. In relation to the second and third objectives of the research, the findings were used to compile a business plan, with detailed recommendations for companies looking to develop a new simulation, and for instructors implementing and coordinating the use of a simulation in a business management context.


Business Management Simulation Game, Technology Enhanced Learning, Serious Gaming, Best Practice

Full Text:



Alvarez, J., Djaouti, D. and Rampnoux, O. (2011). Serious Games market: Some key figures (from 1950's to 2000's). LudoScience, pp. 1-7.

Azadegan, A., Riedel, J. and Baalsrud Hauge, J. (2012). Serious Games Adoption in Corporate Training. Serious Games Development and Applications, pp.74-85.

De Freitas, S. and Liarokapis, F. (2011). Serious Games: A New Paradigm for Education?. Serious Games and Edutainment Applications, pp. 9-23. 23

Stapleton, A. (2004) Serious Games: Serious Opportunities. Paper presented at the Australian Game Developers’ Conference, Academic Summit, Melbourne, VIC Serious.

Avramenko, A. (2012). Enhancing students' employability through business simulation. Education + Training, 54(5), pp. 355-367.

Crookall, D. (2010). Serious Games, Debriefing, and Simulation/Gaming as a Discipline. Simulation & Gaming, 41(6), pp. 898-920.

All, A., Castellar, E. and Looy, J. (2014). Measuring Effectiveness in Digital Game-Based Learning: A Methodological Review. International Journal of Serious Games, 1(2), pp.3-21.

Fortuin, S. and Heerink, D. (2014). An explorative study to Business Simulation Games: a gap between research and practice?, retrieved on

Foshay, R. (2013). What Makes Serious Games Effective? Five Questions to Ask When Evaluating Learning Games in the Workplace. Game On! Learning, pp. 1-11.

McWhinnie, S. (2015). Lecturing using Playconomics. Private communication

Petridis, P., Hadjicosta, K., Guang, V., Dunwell, I., Baines, T., Bigdeli, A., Bustinza, O. and Uren, V. (2015). State-of-the-art in Business Games. International Journal of Serious Games, 2(1), pp. 55-69.

Kickmeier-Rust, M., Hillemann, E. and Albert, D. (2014). Gamification and Smart, Competence-Centered Feedback: Promising Experiences in the Classroom. IJSG, 1(1).

TED, (2010). Gaming can make a better world. [video] Available at: [Accessed 13 Feb. 2015].

Motta, A. (2015). Playconomics Overview. Private communication.

Salas, E., Rosen, M., Held, J. and Weissmuller, J. (2008). Performance Measurement in Simulation-Based Training: A Review and Best Practices. Simulation & Gaming, 40(3), pp. 328-376.

Baalsrud Hauge, J., Bellotti, F., Nadolski, R., Berta, R. and Carvalho, M. (2014). Deploying Serious Games for Management in Higher Education: lessons learned and good practices. EAI Endorsed Transactions on Game-Based Learning, 1(3), p. 4.

Palmunen, L., Pelto, E., Paalumaki, A. and Lainema, T. (2013). Formation of Novice Business Students' Mental Models Through Simulation Gaming. Simulation & Gaming, 44(6), pp. 846-868.

Pierfy, D. (1977). Comparative Simulation Game Research: Stumbling Blocks and Steppingstones. Simulation & Gaming, 8(2), pp. 255-268.

Gold, S. (2015). With simulations, it is not the wand but the magic in the magician: a pilot study enhancing and assessing topic-specific student learning using an economic simulation. ABSEL, Association of Business Simulations and Experiential Learning, 42, pp.69-75.

Ranchhod, A., Gurău, C., Loukis, E. and Trivedi, R. (2014). Evaluating the educational effectiveness of simulation games: A value generation model. Information Sciences, 264, pp.75-90. .

Laufenberg, P. (2015). Fastrack and intersective Overview. Private communication.

Fripp, J. (1997). A future for business simulations?. Jnl Euro Industrial Training, 21(4), pp. 138-142. .

Hasan, S. and Khan, S. (2011). Perceptions of students who participated in business simulation at Umeå School of Business, Sweden A model for educational simulations. Master Thesis, Umea School of Business, retrieved at

LUDUS, (2012). The market for SG – A driver for development of the SEE local economies. LUDUS, pp. 1-54.

Riedel, J. and Baalsrud Hauge, J. (2011). 12289969. 17th International Conference on Concurrent Enterprising (ICE 2011), pp.1-8.

Wolfe, J. and Box, T. (1988). Team Cohesion Effects on Business Game Performance. Simulation & Gaming, 19(1), pp.82-98.

Scherpereel, C. (2005). Changing mental models: Business simulation exercises. Simulation & Gaming, 36(3), pp.388-403.

Petranek, C. (2000). Written Debriefing: The Next Vital Step in Learning with Simulations. Simulation & Gaming, 31(1), pp.108-118. .

Riedel, J., Feng, Y. and Azadegan, A. (2013). Serious Games Adoption in Organizations – An Exploratory Analysis. Scaling up Learning for Sustained Impact, pp. 508-513.

Moreno-Ger, P., Martinez-Ortiz, I., Freire, M., Manero, B. and Fernandez-Manjon, B. (2014). Serious games: A journey from research to application. 2014 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE) Proceedings.

Anderson, P. and Lawton, L. (2008). Business Simulations and Cognitive Learning: Developments, Desires, and Future Directions. Simulation & Gaming, 40(2), pp. 193-216.

Callan, R., Bauer, K. and Landers, R. (2014). How to Avoid the Dark Side of Gamification: Ten Business Scenarios and Their Unintended Consequences. Gamification in Education and Business, pp. 553-568.

Goosen, K., Jensen, R. and Wells, R. (2001). Purpose and Learning Benefits of Simulations: A Design and Development Perspective. Simulation & Gaming, 32(1), pp. 21-39.

De Gloria, A., Bellotti, F. and Berta, R. (2014). Serious Games for education and training. IJSG, 1(1).

Laamarti, F., Eid, M. and El Saddik, A. (2014). An Overview of Serious Games. International Journal of Computer Games Technology, 2014, pp. 1-15.

Whitton, N. (2010). Game Engagement Theory and Adult Learning. Simulation & Gaming, 42(5), pp. 596-609.

Sharek, D. and Wiebe, E. (2014). Measuring Video Game Engagement Through the Cognitive and Affective Dimensions. Simulation & Gaming, 45(4-5), pp. 569-592.

Smith, S. (2009). The Future Outlook of Serious Games and Interface Design. 1st ed. [ebook] Issuu, pp.1-30. Available at: [Accessed 18 Mar. 2015].

Bouvier, P., Lavoue, E. and Sehaba, K. (2014). Defining Engagement and Characterizing Engaged-Behaviors in Digital Gaming. Simulation & Gaming, 45(4-5), pp. 491-507.

Mallon, B. and Lynch, R. (2014). Stimulating Psychological Attachments in Narrative Games: Engaging Players With Game Characters. Simulation & Gaming, 45(4-5), pp.508-527.

Martey, R., Kenski, K., Folkestad, J., Feldman, L., Gordis, E., Shaw, A., Stromer-Galley, J., Clegg, B., Zhang, H., Kaufman, N., Rabkin, A., Shaikh, S. and Strzalkowski, T. (2014). Measuring Game Engagement: Multiple Methods and Construct Complexity. Simulation & Gaming, 45(4-5), pp.528-547

Ninaus, M., Pereira, G., Stefitz, R., Prada, R., Paiva, A., Neuper, C. and Wood, G. (2015). Game elements improve performance in a working memory training task. IJSG, 2(1).

Cai, M. (2012). Serious Games, Serious Play. In: Serious Play Conference. Redmond: Serious Play Conference.

Landers, R. and Landers, A. (2014). An Empirical Test of the Theory of Gamified Learning: The Effect of Leaderboards on Time-on-Task and Academic Performance. Simulation & Gaming, 45(6), pp. 769-785.

Smith, E. (2015). Capsim Overview. Private communication.

Ponnert, S. and Thornkvist, M. (2011). Gamification - how we can use game mechanics in areas that are not a game. 1st ed. [ebook] Malmö: Media Evolution. Available at: [Accessed 2 Mar. 2015].

Ruggiero, D. and Watson, W. (2014). Engagement Through Praxis in Educational Game Design: Common Threads. Simulation & Gaming, 45(4-5), pp. 471-490.

Chaudy, T., Connolly, T. and Hainey, T. (2014). An Assessment Engine: Educators as Editors of their Serious Games Assessment. In: 8th European Conference on Games-based Learning (ECGBL). Berlin.

Baalsrud Hauge, J., Bellotti, F., Berta, R., Carvalho, M., De Gloria, A., Lavagnino, E., Nadolski, R. and Ott, M. (2013). Field assessment of Serious Games for Entrepreneurship in Higher Education. Journal of convergence information technology (JCIT), 8 (August), pp. 1-12.

A. Antonaci, F. Dagnino, M. Ott, F. Bellotti, R. Berta, A. De Gloria, E. Lavagnino, M. Usart, M. Romero, I. Mayer, “A Gamified Collaborative Course in Entrepreneurship: Focus on Objectives and Tools”, Computers in Human Behavior, vol 51, October 2015. DOI 10.1016/j.chb.2014.11.082

F. Bellotti, R. Berta, A. De Gloria, E. Lavagnino, A. Antonaci, F. Dagnino, M. Ott, M. Romero, M. Usart, I.S. Mayer, “Serious Games and the Development of an Entrepreneurial Mindset in Higher Education Engineering Students”, Elsevier Entertainment Computing, Volume 5, Issue 4, December 2014, Pages 357–366DOI: 10.1016/j.entcom.2014.07.003

Randel, J., Morris, B., Wetzel, C. and Whitehill, B. (1992). The Effectiveness of Games for Educational Purposes: A Review of Recent Research. Simulation & Gaming, 23(3), pp.

Gentry, J. (1980). Group Size and Attitudes Toward the Simulation Experience. Simulation & Gaming, 11(4), pp. 451-460.

Oksanen, K. and Hamalainen, R. (2014). Game Mechanics in the Design of a Collaborative 3D Serious Game. Simulation & Gaming, 45(2), pp. 255-278.

Hwarng, H. (2001). A Modern Simulation Course for Business Students. Interfaces, 31(3), pp. 66-75.

Procci, K., Lakhmani, S., Hussain, T. and Bowers, C. (2013). Opening Cinematics: Their Cost-Effectiveness in Serious Games. Simulation & Gaming, 45(1), pp. 93-124.

Westera, W., Nadolski, R. and Hummel, H. (2014). Serious Gaming Analytics: What Students´ Log Files Tell Us about Gaming and Learning. IJSG, 1(2).

Mayer, B., Dale, K., Fraccastoro, K. and Moss, G. (2010). Improving Transfer of Learning: Relationship to Methods of Using Business Simulation. Simulation & Gaming, 42(1), pp. 64-84.

Alligood, C. (2015). Capsim Overview. Private communication.

Snow, S., Gehlen, F. and Green, J. (2002). Different Ways to Introduce a Business Simulation: The Effect on Student Performance. Simulation & Gaming, 33(4), pp. 526-532.

Washbush, J. and Gosen, J. (2001). An Exploration of Game-Derived Learning in Total Enterprise Simulations. Simulation & Gaming, 32(3), pp.281-296.

Gosen, J. and Washbush, J. (2004). A Review of Scholarship on Assessing Experiential Learning Effectiveness. Simulation & Gaming, 35(2), pp.270-293.

Crookall, D. (2014). Engaging (in) Gameplay and (in) Debriefing. Simulation & Gaming, 45(4-5), pp. 416-427.

Hense, J., Kriz, W. and Wolfe, J. (2008). Putting Theory-Oriented Evaluation Into Practice: A Logic Model Approach for Evaluating SIMGAME. Simulation & Gaming, 40(1), pp. 110-133.

Bohle, S. (2012). Serious games now $2 to $10 billion industry. [online] Hypergridbusiness. Available at: [Accessed 26 Feb. 2015].

Takahashi, D. (2013). With a mobile boom, learning games are a $1.5B market headed toward $2.3B by 2017 (exclusive). [online] VentureBeat. Available at: [Accessed 17 Jun. 2015].

Alhadeff, E. (2013). Serious Games Market Analysis By GaLA | SERIOUS GAMES MARKET. [online] Seriousgamesmarket. Available at: [Accessed 22 Feb. 2015].

Faria, A. and Wellington, W. (2004). A Survey of Simulation Game Users, Former-Users, and Never-Users. Simulation & Gaming, 35(2), pp. 178-207

Stewart, J. and Misaruca, G. (2013). The industry and policy context for digital games for empowerment and inclusion. European Commision Joint Research Centr. IPTS' Scientific and Technical reports.

Summers, G. (2004). Today’s Business Simulation Industry. Simulation & Gaming, 35(2), pp.208-241.

Csapo, M. (2015). Cesim Overview. Private communication.

Lefebvre, J. (2015). PriSim Overview. Private communication

Corbett, P. (2015). Fastrack Overview. Private communication

Riedel, J. (2015). Simulation Game Experience. Private communication

Berenstein, S. (2015). Competitive Strategy Game Overview .Private communication

Glo-bus, (2015). Global Business Strategy Simulation Game. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Apr. 2015].

Mediaspark, (2015). MediaSpark | Home. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 Apr. 2015].

Capsim, (2015). Capsim. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 Apr. 2015].

Georghiou, M. (2015). GoVenture Overview. Private communication

Tata Interactive, (2015). Learning Service Providers | e Learning Companies India, USA | Custom Learning Development. [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 Apr. 2015].

National Association of College Stores, (2015). Higher Education Retail Market Facts & Figures. [online] National Association of College Stores. Available at: [Accessed 16 Jun. 2015].

Miller, L. (2014). 2014 State of the Industry Report: Spending on Employee Training Remains a Priority. [online] Association of Talent Development. Available at: [Accessed 19 Apr. 2015].

Training Mag, (2013). 2013 TRAINING INDUSTRY REPORT. [online] Training Magazine. Available at: [Accessed 24 Mar. 2015].

IDIATE, (2010). Serious Games A 10 billion euro market in 2015. IDIATE Consulting & Research. Montpellier: IDIATE, pp.1-3.

Neuhaus, M. (2015). Topsim Overview. Private communication].

Thompson, A. (2015). Business Strategy Game Overview. Private communication

Hühnerfeld, R. (2015). Industrymasters Overview. Private communication.

Harrington, P. (2015). SimVenture Overview. Private communication



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Serious Games Society

Creative Commons LicenseThe International Journal of Serious Games (IJSG) by Serious Games Society is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.