Gamification stuff we love: Simformer
Simformer is the first business simulator based on a successful game by the same company called Virtonomics. Virtonomics is a turn based multiplayer online game where you set up a business and run it to the best of your ability in a chosen economy. Other players are doing the same and that creates a virtual economy where you need to decide on your strategy, manage resources such as supply and demand, marketing, finance, quality, risks etc.
Simformer essentially offers a company, school or university to take elements from the game and build your own program. You can focus on a particular business line, set economic conditions, encourage certain activities, time frame of play which is typically broken into quarters of a working year (only for gameplay they move a lot faster). A business teacher in a school in the Philippines used the system to teach the principles of economics. He challenged his students to create a business empire over a 52 day period and asked them feedback on their decisions, the techniques they are using and obviously applying it to economics theory. In the University of Vilnius they ran a program based on Virtonomics to learn about quality management. Students invariably reported a lot of additional learning such as data analysis, business decisions, levers that make businesses successful as well as quality management. A few banks had their senior executives and up and coming managerial talent play to test their strategic business making abilities.
From a company perspective I can see it applied to recruitment, where you test the real business acumen of applicants. Equally as a learning tool for your managers I can see value in playing the game and potentially testing out strategies you amy want to use in real business and receive some virtual market feedback.
I received a 2 hour demo of the game to get a full flavour of the game and then signed on the free server to test it out. I have to admit the learning curve you go through is quite high, which can be a drawback, but with some persistence you will start seeing the result of your efforts. What I like is that it also takes a bit of time to give you feedback, so although it is a multiplayer online game the time consumption can be limited to logging in every day to set your decisions and then checking in later or event the next day to see the results. (Obviously this will depend on the type of server you choose, some work faster than others)
Simformer is looking to attract learning designers and developers to create specific games for business purposes. Basically you design it and they can help you bring it to life on their servers and you split the profits or just use it internally, the only restriction is that it needs to be based on Virtonomics. This option is definitely one I will be exploring for a client.
From a gamification perspective this is reverse engineering a full game into a learning program. The game dynamics have been tried and tested since 2006, when the original game first came out. It offers resource management, feedback, unpredictability based on the other players on the market, effectively the choose of what to keeps yours.
Have you played Virtonomics or created something on Simformer, let us know and the results it generated?