IBM launches city simulation game, CityOne.

IBM recently launched a game called CityOne.

I saw this game demo’d when I was at the Smarter Industries Symposium in Barcelona and I promised myself I’d go back and look at it in more detail.

This morning I sat down with CityOne and took it for a spin.

CityOne registration wall

CityOne registration wall

CityOne is a simulation game where you are the CEO of a city and you have to make decisions on how to react to events that arise, with the help of consultants. The four silos of the city you manage are Energy, Water, the Retail industry and Banking.

Your Mission, according to the website is to

Solve real-world business, environmental and logistical problems. Learn how technology can revolutionize these industries. Explore ways to accelerate process change, integrate with trading partners, and control costs with a flexible IT infrastructure.

The first hurdle you face, if you want to play CityOne, is a daunting Registration Wall. As you can see from the screencap on the right I circled (in red) all the mandatory fields and there’s quiet a few of them. I’d love to know what the bounce rates are for this page because I suspect the vast majority of people, when faced with this kind of screen, don’t bother completing it, and head off to another site.

Then again, perhaps this is the thinking behind the Registration Wall – keep out the riff-raff. Only the most determined will fill out the form and proceed to the game and these are probably who IBM are most interested in talking to.

As you can see from the video above, the game itself is quite slick – throwing up new scenarios at you at every new turn. You are advised by a consultant and given three options to choose from. Depending on your choices, you are awarded points and the happiness index of the population and business, goes up, or down.

A quick hint at this point – if you want to do well in this game – look for the solution which most closely represents an IBM product or service (if you are not sure, look for the magic IBM terms Instrument, Manage, Integrate, Innovate, Optimise and Transform!).

IBM missed an opportunity here, I feel.

They spent a lot of money on this game but it feels too focussed on IBM solutions – had they gone for a less sales-y feel (even the Registration Wall looks like it is designed to be a sales lead generator) then this could have gone viral quite quickly. As it is, I think it will fall into the category of near-miss.