By September 8, 2014 Read More →

​Overwatch: a smartphone app that makes airsoft more like a video game

​Overwatch: a smartphone app that makes airsoft more like a video game

Prefer the physical activity (and force feedback) airsoft, paintball and laser tag provide, but miss the peripheral luxuries of the virtual battlefield? Well, now you can have both — we found a new app at TechCrunch Disrupt makes physical warfare games a lot more like video games. It’s called Overwatch, and it gives any player with access to an Android or iOS device access to player stats, live voice-chat, in-game perks and controllable game modes. One feature stands out in particular, however: real-time GPS-radar mapping the locations of all players on the field.

Naturally, the app’s tracking ability only works out if every player on the field participates, but it shows a lot of potential. In our short demo with the product, we saw an airsoft rifle mounted iPhone actively track our location, betraying the location of an nearby enemy player on a simulated radar screen. Aware of our proximity, the opposing player was able to activate a “perk” to jam our radar. The app’s creator, Josh Moody, explained that the app can also be used to facilitate new game modes.

It’s a neat idea, with one flaw: nobody wants to pull a smartphone out of their pocket while they’re on the battlefield. Moody has an answer for that too: Overwatch has partnered with CyberGun, a major airsoft manufacturer to create durable smartphone mounts (pictured above) for recreational weapons. Don’t feel comfortable putting your smartphone on a gun? The company is making a arm-band, too – both will be available at Walmart and airsoft retailers later this year for $14.99 and $8.99, respectively. The app is available for free on iOS now, with an Android version coming soon.

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