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The Army Updates its Video Game Recruitment Tool

Techstination feature for Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Army updates its video game recruitment tool. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Love the idea…or hate it….you have to admit the U.S. Army knows where to go to try to reach the current generation of young men. And that place is in front of a screen playing video games. America's Army…the game…was launched four years ago…..and the latest version incorporates what it calls the Real Heroes Program. Christopher Chambers is deputy director of the Army Game Project…

"We've identified eight soldiers that have been awarded Bronze Stars for valor or Silver Stars or even a Distinguished Service Cross in the case of one of our soldiers. And we are putting their likeness in the game and we have a whole page dedicated to them on our Web site and we also have an action figure that's connected to this."

Chambers says more than 25 million copies of the free game have been downloaded…the Army encourages copying. It does profit from a commercial version sold for the Xbox console. The Army hired its own team of civilian video game developers. About the impact of the game on recruiting, Chambers says…

"We don't believe that video games cause young people to join the Army. But what we do believe is that we provide information and stimulate some interest."

While game play is anonymous, information about enlisting…is just a click away. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.