GSA Wants to Use Computer Games to Teach Contracting

Nintendo/AP File Photo

Land the acquisition to save the princess!

The service that oversees the government’s acquisition workforce wants to use interactive computer games to train the next generation of government contracting officers, solicitation documents show.

The games, which will be accessible through a mobile application, will cut down on the cost of in-person training and give future contracting officers more flexibility to learn by experience, and by failure, than in-person training where there’s less room to explore innovative approaches, according to the Dec. 18 solicitation from the General Services Administration’s Federal Acquisition Service.

The games must allow users to branch out on different paths based on decisions they make rather than each decision being simply rated “right” or “wrong,” the agency said. Users should also receive some reward, such as earning points, for decisions that result in a successful contract.

“Virtual environments allow the user to make mistakes in a risk-free setting through experimentation and at the same time keep the users engaged,” the solicitation stated.

The solicitation lists numerous government-built games the designers can use as partial models, including the Centers for Disease Control’s Solve the Outbreak app and Charge!, an Android game in which players use the Federal Acquisition Regulations to outfit secret agents with tools to battle “a nefarious evil genius who is out to take over the world.”

The application must be built on open architecture so it can be updated as laws and rules change government federal contracting, the solicitation said.

To read Nextgov reviews of government-built mobile apps, click here