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:


In 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 intended learning.


Practice 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 radio

Practice Marketing also teaches students how to market their product to reach maximum effectiveness.

In 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.

User Experience

Practice 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.

There 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.

Despite 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.


Practice 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

While 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.

There 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.

I highly approve this assessment system.


In 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.

I 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.


  1. Winn, Brian. The Design, Play and Experience Framework. In R. Ferdig (Ed.), Handbook of Research on Effective Electronic Gaming in Education. Hershey, PA: IGI Global, 2009, pp. 388-401.
  2. Practice Marketing,