If you’re new to investing, trading shares can be a risky and confusing business. With so much conflicting information out there on buying and selling shares, it can be a little hard to know where to start.
That’s where share trading games can be a great resource. Share trading games are designed to help novice investors learn the best ways to buy and sell shares effectively (it's not as straightforward as it first seems) by stimulating the market and using virtual money.
In this way, you can learn how to develop an investment strategy without putting any of your own money on the line. It's all too easy to lose money if you don't know what you're doing; practice makes perfect.
Most share trading games offer a real-time simulation of stock market investing. These games provide you with a set budget, for example $50,000, of pretend money. You can then use these virtual dollars to “buy” your very own portfolio of shares.
Share trading games can be a great way to learn more about investing in the stock market. They can teach you how to research companies, decide on an investment strategy, place a trade and minimise your level of risk.
However, it’s important to understand that these can never provide a completely accurate depiction of what it’s like to trade shares in real life. Your appetite for risk and willingness to accept losses will always be different when your hard-earned cash is on the line, not just virtual money.
It’s also worth pointing out that successful sharemarket investment strategies often take several years to produce the desired results, which is a long way outside the timeframe of many share trading games.
The following games are a selection of online share trading games based on different markets and available to Australians.
1. ASX Sharemarket Game
This free game is open to all members of the public and gives you a virtual AUD$50,000 to invest. It is designed to help you learn more about the sharemarket and how to invest your money.
The ASX Sharemarket Game lets you buy and sell shares in 200 nominated companies listed on the ASX. Live market prices are used to simulate real share trading conditions, and brokerage is charged on each trade.
The game runs for 15 weeks between August 1 and November 13 and you can set up a league to compete against family and friends. An online portfolio allows you to monitor your stocks and at the end of the competition, cash prizes are available to the three competitors with the most valuable portfolios.
2. StockWatch Trading
StockWatch Trading gives you a fictitious budget of AUD$50,000 which you can use to manage your own fantasy share portfolio. The game is free and aims to offer an experience as similar to real-life trading as possible.
The game allows you to buy and sell shares, keep a record of your trades and your share portfolio, test out trading strategies and see how your performance stacks up against other traders. Instead of determining the leading trader based on the value of their portfolio, StockWatch Trading uses a points system based on good share trading practices.
3. Investopedia Stock Simulator
Although not based on the ASX, the Investopedia Stock Simulator is another free share trading game designed to give you a taste of sharemarket investing. Players are given a virtual budget of US$100,000 to invest and can compete with more than 700,000 other traders from around the world.
You can join or create challenges to test your skills against other investors, such as who can achieve the best investment results each day.
4. Wall Street Survivor
Another game based on the US market rather than the ASX, Wall Street Survivor is nonetheless worth a look for Australian investors. It gives competitors a budget of US$100,000 to invest in whichever stocks they like.
Features include simple-to-understand stock ratings and advice, a huge resource library and tips on company research. It’s a very useful educational tool if you’re looking to find out more about investing in stocks.
What are the benefits of using share trading games?
Learn how to trade. Share trading games allow you to gain an understanding of how the sharemarket works, and how you can buy and sell shares to generate wealth.
No money at risk. Share trading games let you gain trading experience without actually investing any of your own money. This means that you won’t end up out of pocket if you make a mistake.
Put theory into practice. Share trading games allow you to put some of your trading ideas and investment strategies into practice without exposing yourself to any risk.
What are the risks involved?
Never the same as the real world. Despite their benefits, playing a share trading game is never the same as investing in real life. Your appetite for risk and overall investment strategy is always going to be different when you’re not actually risking any of your own money.
Short-term. Many share trading games only run for a limited period, for example 10 weeks, which is not enough time to get a full understanding of how the stock market works.
Ready to try the real deal? Compare share trading accounts below
Some commonly asked questions about share trading games
No. These games are played using “virtual” money.
Yes, but rules differ between games. For example, the ASX Sharemarket Game allows players to “purchase” shares in ASX200 companies.
No. Individual share purchases are not allowed to exceed more than 25 per cent of the total value of your portfolio.
Yes. The ASX runs two of its Sharemarket Games specifically for Australian school students each year.
Some online share trading platforms offer a free demo account for a trial period, allowing you to test out the features of their platform without actually spending any money.
If you’re new to investing, share trading games are a useful tool to help you learn the basics of buying and selling shares. Start researching share trading games today to find a game that will help you build your investment knowledge.
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