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Army Bringing Video Game to Xbox

Boot Camp feature for Monday, July 4, 2005

The U.S. Army's high tech recruiting tool…is coming to the Xbox and PlayStation2. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. The PC version of America's Army was introduced on the 4th of July in 2002. About 25 million downloads later, Major Bret Wilson says, it has been a big success for the Army with an average of 95 thousand game play hours per day. The idea of the free game is to give young men a realistic taste of what it's like to be a soldier. And next up…console versions…titled America's Army: Rise of a Soldier, through a license with Ubisoft. Major Wilson says the indications are video games are a more effective way than say, TV commercials, to promote the Army…

"That message through a 30 second spot, is going to last about 30 seconds. This is the same type of message, information about the Army, but it's putting the media in that target age group between the ages of 13 and 34 years old, are going to play and enjoy and immerse themselves in for a lot longer than 30 seconds." They're actually playing games for longer than they're watching TV these days in that demographic.. "They sure are." Any way to measure the success of this? "One of the things we don't do is tie success of the game into recruiting, the intent of the game is more of an information tool, not a recruiting tool."

Players compete against real soldiers…..who are encouraged to participate. Major Wilson says the effort has cost the Army less than one percent of its marketing budget. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.