Playing games online is rapidly becoming one of the most popular leisure activities in the western world. These days, practically everyone has a smartphone – penetration is at about 85 percent of the adult population – and by far the most popular type of apps that we install are games. Data from the app store suggests that these constitute about 25 percent of all downloads, with the next highest category being less than 10 percent.

The thing about leisure activities is that we don’t entirely do them to relax. When you read a book, watch a TV show or catch a movie, there is a degree of escapism, but we also turn to these activities for inspiration in our domestic and professional lives. It should come as no real surprise to learn that games can fulfil a similar role. After all, compared to reading or watching a screen, a game is far more interactive – we are inside the action and can influence the outcome.

Assessing risk versus return

The concept of risk and return underpins most strategic decisions we make, and gaming can certainly help us to develop our analytical skills here. Take a look at the online casino sector as a prime example. A casino is the ultimate “adult playground” but when you visit one online, you will find yourself doing risk assessments before you even walk in through the virtual doors. Many of the sites are offering new casino bonuses in Canada that can dramatically shift the odds in your favour, but these bonuses or free spins need to be balanced against the types of games on offer, the house edge and, depending on the game, your own skill and experience.

Develop your strategy

One of the great advantages to online games is that you can dip out of them as and when you get a moment. Console games might be best when it comes to realism, but let’s be honest, how many of us really have time to sit playing Fortnite for hours on end like the kids do? You can pick up a mobile game when you get a spare few minutes, and your progress will be right where it was when you left off. With strategy games, this gives you a chance to really think through your actions, consider alternatives and develop your improvisation skills.

Manage your time

Of course, in life and business we don’t always have the luxury to sit pondering alternative strategies. Similarly, not every game allows you to spend hours deciding what to do next. In online games like poker, you have to think on your feet and use a balance of skill, initiative and gut feeling to decide on your actions. You won’t always get it right, but games like this help you to build confidence and make the best use of what can sometimes be very limited thinking time.

There are numerous online training tools to help business people get better at what they do. But as the above three illustrations show, simply kicking back and playing a game on your phone could deliver some valuable benefits too. 

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