War Games: Training Troops With A Controller

Government involvement in video game development is neither new nor a well-kept secret...

Government involvement in video game development is neither new nor a well-kept secret, with the latest instalment of the hugely successful 'Call of Duty' series, 'Advanced Warfare', no exception.

Michael Condrey, co-founder of Sledgehammer Games, the studio behind Advanced Warfare, was quoted as saying by the Guardian:

"We got together with a scenario planner from the Department of Defence, who is active in the Pentagon."

"His job is to think about future threats and prepare 'what if' scenarios for the US government. So we asked him, what do you think will be the conflict of tomorrow?"

Advanced Warfare's futuristic depiction of battle-scenarios was then based on this consultation and others like it.

Such close ties between governments and video game developers are common and make perfect sense for all parties involved - military forces can offer funding and technical knowledge whilst leaving the creative application of this knowledge to game production experts. 

And looking at recent releases like Advanced Warfare, it is easy to see the similarities between the action featured in games and real-life battle situations. 

In 2011 the Gadget Show built an ultra-realistic simulator using the game Battlefield 3 - and tested it with a former SAS soldier

Some military forces have actually used game-like virtual reality simulators to prepare soldiers for the mental challenges of war before they ever see battle.

America's Army screengrabs
The US Army has used non-commercial versions of "America's Army" (seen above) to train soldiers

Meanwhile, gaming has also been used to treat those affected by past experiences in war situations.

Simulators like "Virtual Afghanistan" and "Virtual Iraq" have been used in head-mounted displays to treat former servicemen and women suffering from psychological conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Video game-style equipment has even been used in the development of future weapons systems.

See below for a demonstration of the US Navy's laser weapon system, operated by a video game-like controller:


Whilst there has long been debate over the influence of video games on people - for example, the question of whether they accurately portray the gravity of the act of killing another person - it seems they will play an ever-increasing role in the military world for the foreseeable future.

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