Army is looking for a few good gamers
Military makes recuitment moves in lucrative market
LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- After watching the popularity of video gaming grow into a $9 billion business last year, the U.S. military is launching a video game with an eye toward recruiting.
But there's also a twist on how the Army will get the game into young hands.
Most people are familiar with the images of U.S. Special Operations forces, being all they can be, defending the country.
Starting in July, gamers will be able to conduct their own Special Ops missions on PCs, and the only weapons they'll need are a Pentium III processor and a modem.
The U.S. Army is launching the video game "America's Army" as a way to boost its ranks.
The game is getting plenty of attention at this week's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, especially since a tank greets visitors at the massive trade show as part of a promotion.
Games that incorporate a military theme are certainly nothing new, but officials said "America's Army" will not just be testing the hand-eye coordination of gamers.
"If you walk down the aisle of any store that sells games, you're going to see lots of them that borrow off of Army themes, either past, present or future, and of course, we use simulations in the military as well so it seemed like a real logical way to connect to young Americans," said Lt. Col. Casey Wardynski, project manager for "America's Army."
The idea is to give young men and women a taste of battlefield tactics. It will be an online game, so players will be able to log onto the Internet and use team strategies to achieve their objectives.
The game will be rated "T" for teens since the Army wanted to make sure the violence wasn't like something in the realistic World War II drama "Saving Private Ryan."
"We did it in-house because we were very concerned about some things," Wardynski said, "and we want to make sure that this thing embedded Army values, so you win by achieving objectives, not by sort of being mayhem incorporated."
How will the Army achieve its recruiting objectives?
Since it already has a revenue stream -- namely tax dollars -- it plans to give the game away for free.
Players can download the game from goarmy.com, or it can be found as a game CD-ROM in three upcoming computer gaming magazines. Army recruiting stations also will be handing out copies.
George Jones, editor in chief of gamers.com, says "It seems like it's a pretty interesting game. I've gotta say, for the Army's first foray into electronic entertainment, it's pretty impressive."
Gamers may be split on whether to immerse themselves in "America's Army," but Wardynski already has heard from his video gaming commanding officer: his son.
"My 12-year-old pronounced it a 15 out of 10, and now he thinks that I do something to create value in the world," he said. "I make games."
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