America’s Army the first-person squad game-cum-recruiting tool has been a massive success, with 3.4 million players registered. So now the US Army has set up the “America’s Army Government Applications office”. It’s a military software house aimed at using the America’s Army engine to develop training and testing programs for military use. Already on the blocks is a virtual White House for secret service agents to run around in.
The games industry has long had a close working relationship with the military. Now with games like America’s Army and Full Spectrum Warrior (originally developed as a US marines training program) and the military redesigning complex control systems to mirror console gamepads, that relationship is out in the open.
We all want accuracy and fidelity in our game simulations, but is the emerging military-entertainment complex a step too far? Are we training kids to become soldiers? And is there a danger that playing at war disasociates us from the realities of conflict? Thoughts please.