Overall Rating of the Virtual Stock Exchange Site: 9/10
Virtual Stock Exchange is made by the same people behind HowTheMarketWorks. You can find a lot of similar features between the two. There is a similar library of educational content. If you are interested in a stock game for US stocks, you will not find much of a difference. The big draw for the VSE is that it caters to more than just North America. You can include stocks from over 30 countries for your class. You can even add currency and commodities along with stocks. It is even translated into several different languages. The main drawback is that there is not quite as much hand-holding to get started as with HowTheMarketWorks.com.
For Schools: 10/11
The free global stock game at Virtual Stock Exchange is unique in how many countries are represented. That makes it very flexible for schools in Europe or even social studies classes with a broader global perspective. You can find a lot of great educational content in their Learning Center. It includes “Assignments” that lets teachers give students required reading, required trades, tutorial videos, and more built into the system.
There are also very advanced reporting tools available.
For Your Own Contests: 6/6
Contests are very easy to set up on Virtual Stock Exchange. There is one basic form. It allows you to 1) pick how much cash participants receive, 2) what countries you want to open up for your contest to trade, 3) how many trades are allowed, and 3) the trading dates. There are also many advanced options. These include adding in Sharpe Ratio (a type of risk-adjusted returns) to the rankings page and allowing your contest participants to trade on margin.
Using It On Your Own: 5/6
VSE is fantastic to use on your own. It includes detailed research tools combined with a global portfolio and a deep library of educational content. These features make it an excellent place for any global-minded investor to cut their teeth. I have not seen any contests with prizes run on VSE.
A virtual stock game is great to use in classes and clubs with beginners. You can include stocks from over 30 countries. It also allows Forex and some commodities trading for a very diverse mix. The site includes excellent research tools, educational resources, and some tutorials to help get started. Everything is a fairly smooth process and works well.
Registration is a simple one-step process. It only requires you to pick a username and password, plus some demographic information (like what country you are from). If you set your age below 13, most of the registration questions are removed to protect student privacy.
If you create your own contest, you can invite participants using a direct link. The link takes your group to a registration page for your contest. If you are using it in the classroom, they have Google Classroom share buttons to get students registered.
The Stock Game
The stock game has a ton of really great features fitting a global stock game. There is a symbol lookup built right into the trading page. You don’t need to know the ticker of the company you want to trade which is helpful for beginners. The quote includes the company’s logo and performance chart (for some countries, not all). It includes the last price, bid/ask prices, and daily volume. There is also an “estimated cost” calculator built right in. When you enter a symbol and quantity it will update automatically the cost of your trade.
The biggest selling point is the vast number of countries available. Over 30 countries can be traded. They include the London Stock Exchange, Paris Stock Exchange, the Sydney Stock Exchange, and many more. Once you select an exchange, a list pops up below the trading pit showing the 12 most popular stocks on that exchange. The list includes the company name and ticker, making it very easy to get started.
If you trade stocks from a different country, your orders execute using the real-time FX rate. This keeps the game very realistic. If you want, you can also trade Forex directly. This is a huge draw for individuals looking to practice global investing. Plus, you can invest in commodities like Gold and Oil in your portfolio too.
Contests are created using a single form, with a lot of possible customizations. These extra rules are great for classes. It can get overwhelmnig if you want to make a contest with prizes. Almost every rule comes with recommended default settings. Thankfully, you only need to pick your start and end dates to get started.
The biggest drawback for a site like VSE is that having all these different exchanges can open it up to cheating. I’ve tested it. While the US exchanges all use real-time prices (so there is no way to cheat), most other countries trade with a 15-minute price delay. Some of these exchanges trade only report prices at the end of the day. The countries that use prices with a 15-minute delay do have the possibility of cheating.
One of the rules you can set is whether or not day trading is permitted. If you plan to let contest participants trade in other country markets, simply shut off day trading to remove the chance of cheating.
Other Site Perks
A stock market game has a little something for everyone. It includes lesson plans, a stock game for teachers, an extensive global ranking list, tutorial videos, and a massive learning center. One of the best features I found is the amount of data that you can export about your portfolio. You can download your transaction histories, historical portfolio values, open positions, closed positions, account balances, historical rankings, and much more. Getting this data only requires using the “Export” buttons embedded throughout the site.
If you are a contest creator, you also have access to all of this information for all of your contest participants. These features make it great for schools.