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US Army to Invest $50 Million in Video Games

War isn't all fun and games, but that doesn't mean video games can't help train soldiers for combat. Over the next five years the US Army will spend as much as $50 million to purchase a commercial video game called Game After Ambush, with plans to modify scenarios and missions. The money will also go toward researching new gaming technologies adaptable to training.

The military and video games aren't joining forces for the first time. Developed in 2002, America's Army, a recruitment tool, "provides young Americans with a virtual web-based environment in which they can explore an Army career." In a Philadelphia mall, a $12 million and 14,500 square foot gaming center features a command-and-control center along with other simulations.

The Army also uses gaming to confront problems off the battlefield. With many soldiers avoiding treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, a customized version of the best-selling video game Full Spectrum Warrior has become a promising treatment option. The virtual Iraq game exposes a patient to the source of trauma over and over until the event or situation no longer triggers fear.

Are you surprised the US Army turns to video games for its recruitment, training, and post-war treatment needs?


Join The Conversation
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 8 years
Well I think the PTSD idea is great, assuming it works. Why would you deny people treatment for PTSD just because you think it sounds horrid? If it works, it works, let's let these soldiers get on with their lives before we become too judgy about the methods. That being said, I absolutely agree with Hypnoticmix about using video games in recruiting. By only showing the adventurous side of the military, in a game format that can be turned on and off you are doing a great disservice to the recruits, many who are young and impressionable. You obviously can't just shut off the harsh realities of deployment when you are actually serving, and when you die in real life, you don't come back, unlike a videogame.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
Setting up video arcade style recruiting offices is in my opinion ultimately dangerous. You might yield more recruits but at what cost to them and ultimately the infrastructure of the units they serve in. As in agriculture yes you might yield more for your buck by using pesticides but ultimately which is better for you the manipulated process or the organic.
Calimie Calimie 8 years
I'm not so much against the PTSD thing. I guess every case will be evaluated but I know similar systems have been used before. I know that, for arachnophobia, people is shown pictures of spiders first, then videos and eventually, they can get them in their hands. Maybe that's the same principle.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
I like the idea, if only because it will cut down on training costs, and therefore decrease the defense budget.
KadBunny KadBunny 8 years
I'm not surprised at all.. I know it's helped my aim get better. I totally oppose the idea of using it to treat PTSD though, I mean to me that really isn't any different from electric chairs or something.
em1282 em1282 8 years
Sounds kinda dodgy and I have the same question Rouge Noir has... Also, is that really a good "treatment option" for PTSD?
Angela123 Angela123 8 years
wow. just wow. Video games for Army training? Come on.
Rouge-Noir Rouge-Noir 8 years
The last part about exposing patients to the trauma source over and over in order to numb them sounds horrid and terribly simple. It makes me wonder about the motives of the psychologists (if any!) who approved this.
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