The US Army’s recruitment process is pretty rigged toward certain demographics of young Americans, and that has for a long time included fans of video games. Whether for their dexterity with an Xbox controller, their willingness to stare at screens for hours on end or a tendency to be young and impressionable, gamers seem to be ideal recruits.
Back in the early 2000s, that led to the army creating the tactical online shooter America’s Army, which could also be used as an internal training tool. Now, with a fresh mandate from the current administration to recruit more soldiers, they’re looking to tap into the games that people are already playing.
According to the internal news organisation Stars and Stripes, the army has now opened internal applications for an esports team that could field players of Fortnite, Call of Duty, Tekken, League of Legends, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Overwatch, FIFA, Madden and NBA 2K. The intent is initially to represent the army at PAX South in January 2019 with the winner of an internal Tekken 7 tournament, before broadening horizons to create a travelling esports team to head to various college campuses and try to promote the US Army’s brand.
Army Recruiting Command spokeswoman Kelli Bland said, “They will be in a support role to help young people see soldiers in a different light and understand the many different roles people can have in the Army (and) help the Army address the growing disconnect with society.”
Now, I don’t know about you, but as someone from outside the US, it’s all a bit dystopian and weird, right?