The Model for the Modern Major General

 

The Royal Navy took a step into the gaming world recently with the announcement that it would be issuing PSPs to engineers to help them study. Perhaps recognising that 21st century students demand more advanced stimuli, the Navy’s idea is to design 10-minute courses or modules that can be studied on the move. Apparently, though, they’ll still be able to play games on them.

The role of games in the military is something of a tricky one. The US military funds America’s Army, it’s own hybrid of wargame and recruiting tool. There don’t seem to be any plans for the British Army to emulate them, though.

If you’ve never heard of America’s Army, the website is worth a look. It’s not just a cultural curio… there have been 26 versions released to date, and the current iteration is available on Steam and for direct download from http://www.americasarmy.com/. In about 45 languages, from what I can tell.

 

It seems that they understand their audience over there in the States. The idea of showing all the excitement – the firefights and ultimate victories – is nothing new, but you can probably assume that there won’t be a training level in which you learn to eat indigestible tinned food or get abused by psychopathic instructors in boot camp.

Still scoffing? Apparently, it works. With both Britain and the US mired in long-term foreign wars, you’ve got to assume that recruitment is a big issue for both countries. So here’s a little fact-ette taken from that vault of conjecture, Wikipedia. “According to the director of the program, Colonel Casey Wardynski, 20 percent of those matriculating at West Point in 2005 had played America’s Army, along with 20 to 40 percent of enlisted soldiers recruited that year.“

20 to 40 per cent. If 20 to 40 per cent of your target audience has seen your ad on TV, that’s a pretty effective campaign. To have that number playing and interacting with your game… well, that’s marketing gold.

I can’t wait for British Army: Just Take That Hill While I Open The Sauvignon, Fellows.

 

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