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?