Business Simulations? Business Gamification, Serious Games? What the heck is the difference?
This is a great question. In general terms, these are all forms of games. Marketing people love to change names of things. Let’s start by looking at Business Gamficiation:
Business Gamification. It’s [was] all the rage, very catchy, and marketing managers just LOVE it. But what is it exactly? First of all, don’t be overwhelmed.
Let’s look at an example: Online forums… Ya know, those places you go to ask questions and get answers. You’ve probably noticed that certain people get points, prizes, or ‘badges’. That’s it! That’s something that has been game-it-ized. What they’ve done is turned the use of a forum into a game via points and/or rewards. The goal is to get people to come back more and increase engagement. We’re back in a technology boom so it’s all about eye balls once again. Thus, if a company can keep people on their web site, the idea is this means they are an ‘engaged’ customer. This is gamification.
But, how does this relate to simulations or serious games? Great question. As has been repeated many times here, for simplicity purposes, don’t get too caught up on the fancy terms. In many cases (not all) a business simulation is a form of game theory. Gamification is based on game theory. Serious Games are based on game theory. They aren’t necessarily 100% all the same, but they share 98% of the same DNA.
A Business Simulation is going to be used to simulate a business or a function of a business. Serious games or gamification may not (but certainly could). This is why you shouldn’t get too caught up on the terminology. If you are looking to simulate something in your business, call it a business simulation. If you’re looking to engage people around a specific topic for marketing purposes, maybe call it gamification. It’s up to you, but don’t get too caught up in it. You probably have much better things to worry about.
Hope this helps!