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Fantasy trading site allows users to 'play' the stock market

A new online game has gained a big following in a very short time. Wall Street Magnate, launched to the public at the end of May, is like fantasy football for the trading world. The game reflects the real stock market in real time – and players are signing up in droves. It boasts more than 25,000 users.

"You can trade any stock on the New York Stock Exchange, the AMEX, or the NASDAQ," says Laurence Cohen, a Wall Street trader who helped launch the game. "You are experiencing the life of a trader, the highs, the lows, taking risks, selling stocks for profit, cutting your losses. It's giving you a blank canvas to create and learn how to trade."

At the start you get 100,000 of fake investment money to play with (if only the real world were so generous). Low barriers to entry were a priority, says Lewis Schlossberg, a securities attorney who co-launched the game with Cohen.

"To give people without any prior experience in the market -- particularly young people, high school students, college students, young professionals -- an opportunity," Schlossberg says.

Wall Street Magnate is far from the only trading game out there. But Schlossberg and Cohen say their game has an edge by letting players learn real life investment lessons without real dollars on the line. They also say one of the game's beta testers brought his Wall Street Magnate excel spreadsheets to a job interview -- and he got the gig.

About the author

Ben Johnson is the host of Marketplace Tech.

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