Upcoming MMO game could help US Navy fight Somali pirates

The US Navy, after its successful mission that took out Osama Bin Laden last week, is now looking for help in fighting Somali pirates via an MMO game. Fast Company reports that starting on Monday, May 16, it will launch MMOWGLI (Massive Multiplayer Online WarGame Leveraging the Internet) a new project that combines both crowdsourcing features with a game.

According to the story, the MMOWGLI project will involve over 1,000 military and civilian players that will take the roles of Somali pirates or members of an anti-pirate task force. At first players will attempt to set up shipping lanes for naval traffic, along with factors like "logistics of arming ships, the likelihood of pirate attacks and the financial, jurisdictional and temporal difficulties of military action to support commercial shipping and cruise ships."

After that is all set up, the "fun" begins as the players controlling the pirates start their attacks. The anti-pirate task force players will have to come up with strategy to defeat the pirates such as "arrange hostage rescues, raids of pirate camps, humanitarian assistance to Somalia and attacks on Somali ships." All of this play time is designed to help the Navy come up with ideas that it might not have thought up otherwise in order to combat the very real threat of Somali pirates on the high seas.

While this particular game is being made specifically to learn and combat the Somali pirate threat, the article claims that the MMOWGLI project could be adapted to be used for other military scenarios.

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16 Comments

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I dunno some ppl are really good at strategy that don't want do those kinda jobs in rl so leveraging there strategic mind could give new ideas for real missions

DootDootMan said,

I agree.

weaseling their way into kids rooms and using video games as a recruitment tool.

I'm betting the navy view it as some of the best $ they've spent.

There was an episode of NCIS that used kids playing these sort of games as a plot device a couple of years or so ago IIRC... I think there was an FPS in there as well.

How amusing would it be if there was a team of Anti-Pirates being controlled by the real US navy, and they got their warship jacked by pirates?

The only problem is with the fact that in gaming, players are not afraid of dying. This may effect the tactics used by the pirates in real life when compared to the tactics used by the faux pirates.

I'm not sure how useful the data would be, a player in a game is not going to react the same way a real pirate would (eg: the player doesn't really care if he dies)

Rudy said,
I'm not sure how useful the data would be, a player in a game is not going to react the same way a real pirate would (eg: the player doesn't really care if he dies)

If there is anything that gamers are good at, though, is finding ways to win. The army most likely will not be focusing as much on the exact details as much as the general idea behind it. They can see how many different people would react or plan, and then find new ideas in that.

PaCpiS said,
Lol, game inspiring the army..

i thinks is more to judge how people plan when they dont know what the other team is doing.. probably will be military vs civilians.. like a big game of battleship except one side will have raft boats

PaCpiS said,
Lol, game inspiring the army..

Did you read the article? As an Army Vet, NAVY != Army. WAter...land...boats...tanks/artillery/humvees..