How to use games for business

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How to use games for business

Velites blog

How to use games for business

There are more than 2.5 billion video gamers from all over the world (1). And the introduction of board games in learning environments boosts this industry to values of more than $12 billion by 2023. This results in a growth of more than 9% in five years for the board game business (2). Games and play are important elements of our life. It is part of our society and our DNA. We even prefer to play over food (3). Play reduces our stress, boosts our creativity and supports team-building. All of them are of enormous value in the 21st century (4). Thus, it’s for good reason that more and more companies are looking for ways how to include games in their strategies. In this article, we’ll discuss the opportunities to use games and play for business in regards to marketing, sales, learning and development, operational performance and hr-management.

Benefits of play for adults

Do you recognize it as well? You grow up and there is less time for playing and having fun. You’re no longer a child. Instead, you have to be serious about the things you do. Actually, this is wrong. There are so many benefits of play. Everybody – no matter what age – should do it. Play helps us to retain knowledge for a longer period of time, it reduces our stress-level, it gives us more energy, it helps us to build new relationships, it makes us more creative and play helps us to become smarter.

Games versus play

This article refers to games and play. We often see that companies use gamification and games to their benefit. However, play is much more than only doing a game. Play can be defined as doing something from which the outcome doesn’t matter. There doesn’t have to be a winner or a loser. As Stuart Brown, a pioneer in the field of play, says: ‘If the purpose is more important than the act of doing it, it’s probably not play’. Gamification, games, and play: they all have strong effects on personal and corporate success when developed and used correctly.

How play contributes to your success

How to use games for business? Companies use games and play in different aspects. Think about marketing, sales, learning and development, operational performance and hr-management. To name a few examples:

Playstation: operational performance

Maybe the first thing you think by using games for business is having a PlayStation in the canteen. Several companies add a Playstation to the canteen as it helps people to relax and take a good break. Playing a game gets you out of your routine. Next to that, it will relieve you from stress. You enjoy, laugh and have fun. After one game, you’re fresh again. You’re reloaded. And you will go ‘back to work’, ready for the next challenge, ready to perform (5).

The carwash game: marketing and sales

The virtual & augmented reality atelier in Amsterdam is focused on finding creative solutions to complex questions around virtual, augmented and mixed reality. One of their projects was for a carwash company that wanted to increase customer loyalty. The team made an AR-game where kids had to catch birds that were flying in the carwash. The game was a success and resulted in kids causing customer loyalty, as they had such a great experience playing the carwash game (6).

Emergency room practice: learning and development

Medical education is firmly rooted in centuries of history. The transfer of knowledge took traditionally place via textbooks, class-room style lectures, attending patient demonstrations (including live surgery) and by capturing the wisdom of the lecturer in notes. However, simulation is a teaching method that students use more often nowadays (7). Simulations copy the real world, in which students can test via e.g. the use of VR- and AR-methods what medical actions lead to what results (8). These type of simulations helps to gain real-life experiences in a testing area. The participants feel as if they are in the ER and therefore will retain the learning material much better compared to traditional training methods.

Discover your hidden leadership qualities: HR-management

HR-management is designed to maximize employee performance in the service of an employer’s strategic objectives. HR-specialists are responsible for recruiting, screening, interviewing and placing workers. Using gamification in the recruitment process shows positive results in relation to time-to-hire. Instead of doing interviews or reading CV’s, a game shows people’s behavior and helps to select more precise (9). But also during the onboarding phase, games help to get people quickly up and running. From a personal development perspective, the game ‘Discover your hidden leadership qualities’ is used in both recruitment and onboarding processes. It helps to identify the full leadership potential of the participants. This information is for example used as a starting point of a personal development plan (10).

Download our 1-pager about how game-based learning improves the ROI of Learning & Development programs.

When games are not the solution

Even though using games or game elements have many positive effects, we have to be careful using it. In the end, a game is a tool and not a goal. Playing a game or adding game elements should support the goal. Misuse of games leads for example to ‘edutainment’, resulting in less engaged learners. And it also doesn’t change behavior. Game developers call this phenomenon: chocolate-covered broccoli. This means that you can’t just cover something in chocolate and make it instantly better, like broccoli, because in the end, it is still broccoli.

Introduction class: game-based learning in business

Do you want to learn about how games can benefit your development and that of your organization? A few times a year, we organize an introduction class called: game-based learning in business. During this class, we will step into the field of play, games, and behavior and learn how to use game-based learning in business settings. By the end of the class, you’ll know how you can use games to improve your ROI of learning and development. And there is, of course, also time to play.

Check out our agenda to register for our introduction class.


(1) 2020 Video games industry statistics , trends & data

(2) Board Games Market – Global Outlook and Forecast 2018-2023

(3) Mens durf te spelen – De kennis van Nu, 2015

(4) Right-brain leadership, Velites blog, 2018

(5) The benefits of play for adults, 2019

(6) Virtual & augmented reality atelier, University of Applied Sciences Amsterdam

(7) Serious play in the virtual world: can we use games to train young doctors?, 2012

(8) ER VR Trailer Medical Training Simulation, 2015

(9) Gamification in the recruitment, 2017

(10) Do you use your full potential?, 2019