Government, Joy Business Academy, Xero and BNZ have teamed up and created a video game to give players insight into running their own business.

The Ministry of Social Development spent $150,000 on the game but the total cost of development could not be revealed.

It took 14 months and eight designers to create.

The Tycoon Game series, which consists of Restaurant Tycoon and Tech Tycoon, challenges players to use what the World Economic Forum has deemed as 10 essential skills vital for the future of employment.


The educational game will teach players business skills including emotional intelligence and cognitive flexibility, as well as critical thinking and creativity - skills the Forum has this year bumped up the prescribed list.

Players can level-up and earn badges for certain achievements, determined by how they manage scenarios in the game, including paying supplier invoices and wages.

Social Development minister Carmel Sepuloni said the game reinforced skills needed today to be able to successfully start and manage your own business.

"Every year SMEs are constrained through a combination of external pressures, lack of experience and commercial acumen. Recruitment, training and retention of good employees is cited as one of the most challenging aspects of businesses for this group," Sepuloni said.

James Coddington, chief executive of Joy Business Academy, which developed the game, believes it is the game will support small business education.

"By immersing the player in operating their own business in the virtual world, it is our hope they will learn the necessary skills and understand how they can work with different partners or business advisors which can then be translated into operating their own SME business in the real world," Coddington said.

Xero New Zealand country manager Craig Hudson said the game series tackled real world challenges that small businesses often faced.

A scene from the Tycoon Game series. Photo / Supplied
A scene from the Tycoon Game series. Photo / Supplied

"As technology advances and job roles evolve, there will be a change in the skills required in the future," Hudson said. "The Tycoon Series tackles the challenges associated with this change head on, addressing financial literacy and business evolution skills as players progress through the game.


"It's a good reminder that regardless of whether you're at high school or uni or running your own business - investing in education, upskilling and training should always be a focus."

Joy Business Academy creates business-simulation courses and software.