US Navy creates MMO wargame to fight Somali pirates

By Spencer Ackerman,

US Navy creates MMO wargame to fight Somali pirates

Office of Naval Research

OK, so it’s not exactly Call of Duty: Somali Coast. Your avatar won’t get its SEAL Team Six on and shoot pirates in the head. But the Navy still wants you—yes, you, gamer—to join in its online gaming effort to figure out what to do about the scourge of piracy.

Starting on Monday, the Navy will host one of the least likely online games ever: MMOWGLI, its Massive Multiplayer Online War Game Leveraging the Internet, something it’s been building since 2009. In a literal sense, the game is about counterpiracy, as the game encourages players to offer about their best suggestions for clearing the seas of the resurgent maritime scourge. But the real point of MMOWGLI—pronounced like the Jungle Book protagonist—is a social experiment.

“We want to test this proposition: can you get a crowd to provide you with good information?” Larry Schuette, the director for innovation at the Office of Naval Research, the Navy’s mad scientists, asks Danger Room. “Is the wisdom of the crowd really that wise?”

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