The best selling PC game of 2009 was the Sims 3, and the entire Sims franchise has topped best seller lists since 2002. While the premise of creating virtual people and making them in a virtual town might not appeal to all, the game has sold 4.6 million+ copies, so clearly quite a few people must enjoy the game.
Personally, I can’t get enough. I’m ashamed to admit the numerous hours I’ve given to the Sims franchise. And there’s a simple reason why: The Sims reflects real life, and sometimes even points out things that we might forget. There are actually quite a few things that we can learn about business from playing the Sims.
Make connections. Sims love it when they make new friends! They become happy and stay happy for days. And it just doesn’t help their personal lives; it’s generally a requirement for them to climb their career ladder. The same applies to your company. Not reaching out to make business connections or discover customers is a sure way to flounder. As much as we would like neighbors to ring our Sims’ doorbells or customers to just stumble on your company’s website, it’s just not very likely. Being proactive in expanding your social circle is a necessity.
Maintain contact with customers. Socialization is key to happiness in a Sim’s life. They ask constantly to make friends, chat with their friends, or hang out downtown with their friends. But, of course, they get busy advancing their rock star career or refining their cooking skill, and they start to lose friends. As even casual players can attest, Sims get severely emo when they lose friends. Similarly, you and your company will become severely emo if you start losing customers. Reach out to them with good customer service, sales, or social media. Letting my Sims call old friends to chat boosts their mood all day which proves that a small time investment will go a long way.
Know your personal limits. If you’re anything like me, I always push my Sims to the brink of exhaustion. I don’t care if it’s 3 am and they are freaking out about wanting to sleep, they are fifteen minutes away from logic level seven, and dang it, they are going get there. Yet, even with trying my hardest, there are times when Sims will override my demands and just go to bed. The same goes for us humans. When you feel your eyes starting to blur over a computer monitor, or the numbers you’re crunching just won’t crunch correctly, it’s time to take a break. Get up and take a walk around the office, go grab a snack or some water from the break room, or pop outside for some fresh air. Studies have proven that breaks from work will make your work time more productive. Knowing that almost makes me want to let my Sims have a break to eat a cookie. Almost.
Keep your technology current. Every so often, wants like “Buy something worth 100 Simoleons” or “Buy the super awesome TV” will pop up in your Sims’ wants box. They get happy when you buy them something smart and new, and humans are the same way. Not saying that you need to upgrade your technology the second it debuts, but working on an Apple 2 and calculating with a slide rule is a sure way to keep your employees frustrated. When my Sims become beyond frustrated because their cheap, 50-Simoleon TV breaks for the thirty-seventh time, I know that it’s time to invest in the more expensive models.
This is just the tip of the iceberg of what we can learn from our Sims. It might be obnoxious for Sarah Sim to continually call her friends and do her laundry, but they’re things that we have to do in real life. Not many other games make you think about real life applications or give you such handy reminders for business practices!
Are there other business or life lessons that we can learn from the Sims? Any other games (besides Tetris) that can apply to business? And most importantly, why can’t there be a ‘rosebud’ money cheat for real life?