With their increasing sophistication and complexity, business games are playing an bigger role than ever not only in training employees to do their jobs better, but also in the area of education for young people. If you look at the way that computer games generally have evolved from primitive two-dimensional challenges like tic tac toe or Battleship up to the unbelievably realistic and immersive experiences of today’s first-person shooter games, it’s no surprise that a new generation of online games for business have sprung up to defy any sharp divisions between entertainment and learning.
Just look at any one of the many tycoon-style games that one finds on the internet. These games, mostly for older kids or adults, mimic very closely the challenges of trying to rise to the top of a competitive business landscape in a city rife with crime, corruption and a host of potential problems that can come out of left field at any moment. The success of Farmville on Facebook also shows that as long as the challenges behind the games are compelling, cutting edge graphics are not necessarily required. Farmville is another game that has good business lessons to teach young people, even if they will never be farmers. Even simple diner games offer fun challenges for younger kids in an environment with which they are familiar.
This is ultimately why business games online function so easily as valuable education as well as entertainment: they have endless challenge and enough resemblance to real life that one can’t help learn about what it takes to succeed in a given type of business, and feel satisfied in succeeding even if the money is not real.
You can’t be faulted for encouraging your kids to spend a little bit of their online time engaged in games that can help them develop skills for use later in life. They may not become small-business owners, but if they do end up being their own bosses, the exposure to the world of business–from the other side of the counter from the customer–that they got when they play business games could play a significant role in their decision.