Navy to online gamers: Help us crowdsource our strategy

Thanks in part to pre-launch publicity, more than 7,000 people have signed up for MMOWGLI, far beyond the 1,000 that developers had anticipated for the $450,000 pilot project. Programmers from the Institute for the Future, a nonprofit based in Palo Alto, Calif., that is making the software, have postponed the launch date to be sure the game has enough capacity…

MMOWGLI lacks the high-tech, shoot ’em up graphics of commercial video games. Video clips and storyboards will prompt players to envision scenarios. For example: “Three pirate ships are holding the world hostage. Chinese-U.S. relations are strained to the limit and both countries have naval ships in the area. Humanitarian aid for rig workers is blocked. The world is blaming the U.S. for plundering African resources.”

Players are then confronted with two boxes — Innovate and Defend — asking what new resources could “turn the tide” and what risks might result.