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Uber made an iPhone game to help recruit new drivers

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Can a videogame help convince someone to become an Uber driver? The company seems to think so, as it's just released Uber Drive, a Google Maps-based game that puts you in the role of a driver — or "partner" as Uber likes to say. You're tasked with picking up customers (Uber encourages you to focus on zones with surge pricing) and choosing the most efficient route to their destination.

You do that by tapping on the map as your car drives along; each successful drop off rewards you with cash that can be used to unlock new sections of San Francisco or upgrade to UberBLACK / UberSUV vehicles. Uber Drive offers up some basic facts about San Francisco landmarks as you chauffeur your riders around, and the company seems to think it can help real-life drivers "hone their navigation skills."

It’s also a great way for prospective drivers to experience firsthand what it’s like to drive with Uber –– there are links to sign up and start the screening process from directly within the game.

If this is meant to be a simulation of being an Uber partner, let's just say it's a tame and extremely sunny one. But that shouldn't come as a surprise since the whole purpose here is recruiting new drivers; you can start the screening process right inside Uber Drive. According to The New York Times, Uber employee Mike Truong made the game as a side project, so regardless of how well or poorly it fares in the App Store, Uber can say it invested relatively little in the game. And that includes not making versions for other mobile operating systems; sorry Android users.

Uber Drive screenshot