How often do you read about some international conflict, thinking how you would handle the situation differently? That desire is the impetus for a new line of reality games from startup Kuma Reality Games. The company plans to offer weekly episodes that will allow broadband-connected users to "play the news as it is reported."
Kuma's first product will be Kuma: War, a subscription game set to launch in February, 2004. In continuing episodes, players will receive briefings on real-world events, imagery from KH-11 surveillance satellites, and intelligence provided by a team of real military veterans. The weekly updates will be available as downloads. Later, the company will offer other reality games in genres such as crime and sports.
Kuma: War will attempt to offer episodic content closely tied to current events. "We have a board of military advisers, at the top of which is Major General Tom Wilkerson," says Glenn Broderick, director of marketing for Kuma Reality Games. "He was essentially the number two person in the Marines during the first war with Iraq. He has a lot of experience thinking about things strategically and thinking about what's going to happen next. Being predictive about events is one of the things we need to be in order to be as timely as possible. So if, for example, the North Korea situation might turn into something major, we need to have a pretty good idea that it will happen six weeks in advance so that we'll have time to turn around a mission based on that." In addition to Wilkerson, Kuma Reality Games' team of advisers consists of software executives, gaming industry veterans, and a documentary and news producer...