Overall Rating of the Virtual Stock Exchange Site: 9/10
Virtual Stock Exchange is made by the same people behind HowTheMarketWorks, so you can find a lot of similar features between the two. There is a similar library of educational content, and if you are just interested in a stock game for US stocks, you will not find much of a difference. The big draw for VSE is that it caters to more than just North America – you can include stocks from over 30 countries for your class, add currency and commodities in addition to stocks, and 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 you will find at HowTheMarketWorks.
For Schools: 10/11
The free global stock game at Virtual Stock Exchange is unique in how many countries are represented, making 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, with an “Assignments” feature that lets teachers give students required reading, required trades, tutorial videos, and more, all 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, where you pick how much cash participants receive, what countries you want to open up for your contest to trade, how many trades are allowed, and the trading dates. There are also many advanced options, like adding in Sharpe Ratio (a type of risk-adjusted returns) to the rankings page, or allowing your contest participants to trade on margin.
Using It On Your Own: 5/6
VSE is fantastic to use on your own – very detailed research tools combined with a global portfolio and a deep library of educational content makes it a great place for any global-minded investor to cut their teeth. I have not seen any contests with prizes run on VSE, though.
My review of Virtual-Stock-Exchange
Virtual Stock Exchange is another stock game built for education, making it great for use in classes and clubs with beginners. You can add in stocks from over 30 countries, plus Forex and even some commodities trading for a very diverse mix. The site includes great 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, picking a username and password, plus some demographic information (like what country you are from). I noticed that 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, which takes them to a registration page just for your contest. If you are using it in the classroom, I also see that 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, so you don’t necessarily need to know the ticker of any company you want to trade, very helpful for beginners. The quote includes the company’s logo and performance chart (for some countries, not all), with the last price, bid/ask prices, and daily volume. There is also an “estimated cost” calculator built right in, as soon as you enter a symbol and quantity it will update automatically to help see how much your trade will cost.
The big selling point is the huge number of countries available – over 30 in total, like the London Stock Exchange, Paris Stock Exchange, 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, including their 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, keeping the game very realistic. If you want, you can also trade Forex directly, which can be 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 and if you want to make a contest with prizes, but if you want a quick setup, it can get a bit overwhelming. Thankfully, almost every rule comes with recommended default settings, so you really just 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 exchange can open it up to cheating. I’ve tested it myself, while the US exchanges all use the real-time prices (so there is no way to cheat), most other countries trade with a 15 minute price delay (some even just end of day). The countries that use prices with a 15 minute delay do have the possibility of cheating, which can be a problem.
Thankfully, one of the rules you can set is whether or not day trading is permitted – if you plan to let your contest participants trade anything in the world, simply shutting off day trading removes any chance of cheating.
Other Site Perks
Virtual Stock Exchange has a little something for everyone – lesson plans and a great stock game for teachers, a big global ranking list with tons of investment options for individuals, tutorial videos and a massive learning center for students. One of the best features I found here but nowhere else is the sheer amount of data about your portfolio you can export for review. You can download your transaction histories, historical portfolio values, open positions, closed positions, account balances, historical rankings, and much more 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 as well, making it great for schools.