"New organisation to be named 'MI6 to Start'
April 1, 2009
LONDON - British intelligence agency MI6 has announced it is entering a private finance initiative (PFI) with cross-platform game designers Six to Start. With the need for online and distributed intelligence gathering at a high, and Government finances at a low, this alliance is touted as a way to to bring MI6 firmly into the 21st century. Sources suggest that the new organisation is to be called 'MI6 to Start'.
"Let's face it - ARG players are far more motivated and resourceful than your average 'James Bond'", commented Sir John Scarlett, Director General of the SIS.
Six to Start will assume immediate responsibility for recruitment of new agents, through a fully-immersive augmented/alternate reality game (FIA/ARG) named 'Code 850'. In the game, which will utilise all branches of the Government, players will be tasked with distributed intelligence gathering, signal analysis, and for level 80 players, actual covert operations.
Senior officers at MI6 were said to be initially skeptical of the PFI, but after Six to Start provided a live demo in which they were all unknowingly guided onto the same 77 bus by twelve thousand members of the public working in concert, objections fell away. Some early joint initiatives include crowdsourced analysis of keyhole satellite images in Afganistan, and massively multiplayer social engineering against hostile regimes. David Miliband, Foreign Secretary, said, "The savings for the taxpayer are sure to be significant."
Sources in the intelligence community allege that the game has already begun, and that 4.2 million players in the UK and abroad are inadvertently playing it right now. "This is pure speculation, and even if it were true, the risk of physical harm is really quite low," responded Adrian Hon, Chief Cryptography Officer.
Conspiracy theorists believe that Six to Start has long had ties with the intelligence services, citing its previous offices at Vauxhall - only five minutes walk from SIS headquarters at Vauxhall Cross - and its unusually high use of black helicopters in live events.
In related news, noted science fiction author Charlie Stross has been missing for more than two months, having last been sighted getting into an unregistered taxi in Glasgow.