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Uncle Sam Wants You ... To Play Video Games

Operation Overmatch is a crowd-sourced game that connects soldiers and engineers in designing weapons and vehicles.

One thing that I learned during my 12 years in the Army was to be careful when command teams coming looking for volunteers.

Then again, none of them were offering a chance to develop new military technologies by playing a video game. But last week, that’s exactly what the Army announced it was going to do.

Officials are looking for volunteers to provide input through online gameplay in developing weapons, equipment and tactics.

Operation Overmatch is described as a crowd-sourced innovation platform, and part of the Early Synthetic Prototyping program designed to connect scientists, soldiers and engineers in unveiling and getting feedback on new battlefield technologies.

The virtualized, game-like environment pits teams of eight soldiers against each other in a wide range of realistic scenarios. Players can experiment with nearly any type of weapon, vehicle or tactic imaginable, with the feedback collected and used to evaluate new ideas.

The purpose of Early Synthetic Prototyping is not to define the specific vehicle or capability, but focus on soldier input before developing physical prototypes. It doesn’t eliminate other testing and experimentation but speeds development because of greater soldier input earlier in the process.

Developers can also diagnose how soldiers move and operate in the game. They can see, at a comparatively minimal cost, from amongst an unlimited number of simulated weapon, equipment and vehicle options, which are most utilized and favored by soldiers.

Army officials feel a vehicle or weapons system that might take years of engineering to physically build could be changed or adapted within minutes by playing the game.

Operation Overmatch is still in development at the Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia, but if you’re interested in signing up to play, go to

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