IBM is out with a free “sim-style” game that it touts as a serious tool for understanding the complexity of cities and urban growth that Big Blue says is running at about 1 million people a week around the world.

“CityOne” is able to “help customers, business partners and students discover how to make cities and their industries smarter by solving real-world business, environmental and logistical problems,” IBM said in announcing the game.

IBM had first talked about the game in May.

Not to underplay how hard it is to manage the interconnected issues that affect the quality of life in cities and environmental sustainability, IBM’s “CityOne” website tells players: “Your mission: 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.”

“CityOne” obviously sees information technology as a prime tool in managing the challenges, so it works as an IBM karketing forum. However, IBM did not make up the issues involved.

“The game is also meant to be a conversation starter about the future,” the site says. “What are the catalysts for change and how can investments today prepare businesses for what is to come tomorrow?”

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