Practice Marketing is an online-multiplayer simulation game
designed to teach students about fundamentals of marketing. In this 3D
turn-based game, students dive into the backpack industry and gain
virtual-hands on experience of developing marketing strategies from
product design to distribution.
Below is a detailed analysis of this game roughly following Brian Winn's1 Design/Play/Experience framework, including:
Here are 6 main expected learning outcomes:
- Better understanding of the concept of marketing
- Learn the 4Ps of marketing: Product, Price, Placement and Promotion2
- Better information-analyzing skills
- Be aware of the needs of a target clientele
- Set a competitive price for a product
- Make better advertising campaigns
Practice Marketing, players dive into the backpack industry. They
get to work with the manufacturers and clients and compete with other
players, hence the simulation of a real-life business task to get a
bigger market share. There are several characters representing
different clienteles. Overall, the tasks are reasonably designed and
the presence of important market-affecting elements supports the
Marketing is a series of data analyzing and decision making activities.
The goal is to get a bigger market share (more profit). The flow of the
game is target audience assignment- backpack design - feedback from the
focus group - setting price - retail distribution - promotion campaign
- competition review - adjustment.
The simple mechanics allow looping and trials-and-errors, which make up
the majority of gameplay. Players find out what works and what does
not. The idea is that players learn what boosts the sale by improving
marketing strategies over time. Adjustment choices are flexible, broad
andtime-consuming even with in-game assistance.
Informative feedback is provided in the form of an organized report at the beginning of every turn.
Some aforementioned choices include:
Design: shape, straps, features, material and color
Retail Channels: direct, high end outdoor, fashion boutique, department store, online, university and discount retail store
Promotion: newspaper, online, poster, television and radioIn addition, Practice Marketing uses a lot of charts and graphs to better simulate a business environment.
The above graph shows where each competitor lies on the position map (by the comfort level of product).
Over all, I think Practice Marketing is very well integrated. As far as player emotion goes, a player rejoices when she or he holds a bigger market share every new turn.
Marketing is a lot of clicking. Truth to be told, there is only
clicking. Players don't need to enter anything at any point, as every
option is pre-made. It is designed so to keep the game under control.
While it does not best refect the real marketing world, it certainly
provides easiness for college students.
The UI elements are clean and user-friendly. There are not any menu that needs to be expanded more than twice. In general, it is easy to use (click), except one condition.
is often a button at top (here it says "click to continue with
pricing", which is not visible when zoomed out) that is essential for
the player to click and proceed with the game. It is often overlooked
because of its small size.
this minor flaw, Practice Marketing has informative chart and report
display that when combined with easy-to-use UI elements, give players a
good learning experience.
Marketing runs on a 3D Sandstone gaming platform, a powerful tool
that supports multiplayer network on PC, Mac; iPad and Android tablets.
Sandstone is exclusively developed and owned by Muzzy Lane for its
various products. It provides easy access to both developers and
players. A player has to install the Sandstone plug-in to run the game,
which is fairly light weight.
For more information on Sandstone, please visit http://muzzylane.com/sandstone
Sandstone allows for cool 3D graphics and many other features, I find
3D unnecessary in Practice Marketing. This game does not involve much
action besides clicking nor does it encourage exploration of the vast
foggy land of the environment. A 2D system would serve this game
better, and possibly allow for more exciting graphics.
There are several Key Performance Indicators (KPI) such as profitability, Product appeal and media strength that help with the assessment. A KPI such as profitability directly reflects whether the marketing strategy worked or not. In addition, there is a team leaderboard that ranks players on how well they are doing.
is no letter grade. Practice Marketing strives to help students get a
better understanding of what makes a marketing strategy work. A low KPI
will simply help the instructor as well as the students to spot a
problem, find out "Why" and correct it.
conclusion, I think Practice Marketing is an effective tool for gaining
a basic marketing foundation. A score of 7/10. It teaches students
about various elements that affect market share- more importantly, how
they affect market share- by letting students experiment with various
input-output game mechanism. The game is equipped with simple UI and
minimal instructions that encourage student to draw conclusion from
their own actions and results from gameplay.
would recommend replacing the yellow "click to proceed" button at top
center with a glowing green button that says "confirm" or "next" at the
center of the screen.