If you’re looking for novel ways to engage negotiations students out of class, why not try a video game?
FIFA 18 is the latest installment of the soccer/fútbol franchise and is the reigning best-selling sports video game of all time. The majority of the game, as you would expect, revolves around football. However, central to your success in the overall story arc is your role as a general manager. To win, you must diligently manage salaries and other issues for your team’s contracts and transfers, a worthwhile endeavor for any negotiations learner.
Thus far it has sold 24 million copies, a number that happens to be slightly less than the total population of students enrolled on campus in the US. Chances are at least some of your students have access to this little known treasure trove of negotiations challenges.
Let’s break down the in-game experience and outline its core negotiating tactics and learning takeaways.
FIFA 18 eases players into negotiations via the transfer system. When a new player is up for transfer from another team, you can engage with them about joining your team with a salary discussion.
In this scenario, players establish an initial offer as well as a ceiling/floor price. By making price the only issue negotiated, the game helps make your first negotiation experiences fairly straightforward.
Once they’ve mastered the basics, FIFA 18 allows student-managers to step into more robust negotiations that span issues beyond salary.
Despite being head over heels for games based learning, we’ll be the first to highlight FIFA 18’s shortcomings as a teaching tool. In multi-issue negotiations, the dialogue is always issue-by-issue meaning that package deals and MESOs (multiple equivalent simultaneous offers) can’t be used. In addition, once an issue is agreed upon there’s no going back which is a poor reflection of how negotiations work in reality.
Despite the drawbacks, we believe FIFA 18 could serve as an excellent out of class assignment to put your students’ skills to the test.
On a certain level, unpacking these kinds of game experiences is part of the magic we bring to the SimCase games we build. The framework, setting, feedback, and debriefs all play an important role in creating a learning experience people remember.
We know instructors are out there working hard to instill learning in our students. We just hope we can add a little help in that process. Game on!