What is the relationship between armies and the video game industry? – BBC News Arabic


05/04 07:18

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Foreigners considering traveling to fight in Ukraine earlier this year received a clear warning that war “is not a Call of Duty video game.”

The atrocities of the battlefield on the ground differ greatly from the virtual versions, despite the great developments in video games in recent years.

However, the video game industry’s relationship with the military has seen a convergence, whether through technology used to train officers, tactics to change perceptions, or closer relationships with ex-military, or simply because soldiers play those games.

“There’s definitely a close relationship between video games and both serving soldiers and ex-military,” said Dan Goldberg, a former U.S. Navy veteran who now runs the Call of Duty Endowment, a former military charity with ties to the game’s maker. . the youngest “.

And that relationship will continue, Golberg says.

In the past, military leaders would plan, prepare, and test their tactics on a worn paper map.

And they moved wooden models over those maps to express the movements of the soldiers.

Now they rather play what might be called a kind of video game.

photo released, Unlikely

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Modern video game technology enables generals to do something similar to what their historical counterparts did – but in a much more advanced way.

“Video game technologies have become incredibly powerful and useful with their ability to reconstruct the real world in all its complexity within a virtual world,” says Joe Robinson of technology company Improbable.

Improbable software allows realistic war scenarios to be created and explored in virtual reality either from an overhead shot, as you see in war strategy games like Company of Heroes, or through a narrator’s perspective such as in games like Counter Strike.

From the impact of cyberattacks and misinformation to the demographics of populations and infrastructure, software is empowered with the multiple elements that influence modern warfare, and those elements have an impact on the evolution of situations. It is much more than just where soldiers are deployed and their movements.

photo released, Unlikely

Screenshot of Unpredictable software that looks like a construction and driving simulation game

Robinson adds: “Threats can come from anywhere in our time. It is very difficult to know how they will develop. [تلك التهديدات] The effect on the battlefield. It is very difficult to start planning and training to deal with these issues.

“We enable decision makers to experiment with ideas, test new strategies and equipment, and train forces to deal with these complex and ever-changing environments. It helps you quickly understand how things affect each other, and what lessons can be learned. “

Not only is training where this technology is used, but it is also applied to “current operations taking place in the real world”, meaning that it provides support “from the line to coordinating operations”, according to Robinson.

Improbable says its technology is currently being used by military leaders in conflicts around the world, but the company has not told us exactly where it is used for security reasons.

Video games have become an important part of the British Army’s efforts to communicate and communicate with the public.

From attending video game conferences to using games in advertising campaigns and constantly interacting with people on streaming platforms like Twitch, it’s clear that senior officials regard the millions who regularly play video games in the UK as an important demographic to participate in. connected.

“The main idea is to bridge the gap between the army isolated in its barracks and the people we serve,” says lt.col. Tim Elliot in an interview with the Press X to Continue video game podcast on the BBC Sounds website and application.

Lt. Col. Elliott is the head of the Army’s e-sports unit. Currently, soldiers regularly broadcast their video game sessions online, where they showcase their skills, connect with the public, and build a community of viewers.

“The military realizes that there is a growing distance between us and people, so the idea is that we are trying to bridge the gap so that the general public understands what we are doing, and understands that we are basically the same, but we are in uniform, “says Elliott.

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photo released, Getty Images

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He adds that there is a difference between these outreach efforts and recruitment campaigns. “We can interact with the people, and they can ask the soldiers questions, but there is no recruitment battalion, we do not do it for the purpose of recruitment, but to cultivate awareness. Many families no longer have members of the army. not.”

But video game professionals have a set of skills that the military wants – such as quick response, communication and problem-solving skills.

This budding and promising relationship has attracted attention but has not been welcomed by everyone in the past. In 2019, Army conscripts were criticized for distributing a military pamphlet linked to PlayStation video game magazine, in which the military is accused of targeting children.

The use of gaming platforms is not limited to the British armed forces, the US military also uses the Twitch platform as a recruiting tool, although this step has been the subject of controversy related to freedom of expression.

photo released, Getty Images

Video games have been in the military for a while now, and a member of the British Army was playing on his Xbox in Afghanistan in 2008.

Corporal Jonah Gibb is a paramedic in the British Army and is known online as “Ace”. Jonah takes his Nintendo Switch with him when he travels overseas, and he loves the Mario Kart series of games.

He says many soldiers in conflict areas around the world like to use a game controller just as much as they like to use a weapon. “Playing video games, especially with friends at home, is one way to stay in touch as it helps to prioritize mental health and escape from the work atmosphere for a while,” he adds.

“Yes, we are soldiers, but people forget that we are human too, and playing with friends enables me to get away from the work environment and relieve the pressure it puts on the environment around my farm.”

This increase in the number of Army members playing video games is one of the reasons for the increase in the impact of playing these games on the Army’s program aimed at building bridges of communication with members of the people.

Another example of this growing relationship is that companies that make money from fighting video games say they are raising donations for charities that support and support members of the military.

The Call of Duty Endowment Charity Code, established in 2009, helps ex-military personnel find work after their service in the military.

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