America's Army Costs US Taxpayers $32.8 Million

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America's Army Costs US Taxpayers $32.8 Million

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Since work began on free-to-play-FPS-slash-recruitment-tool America's Army in early 2000, the project has cost the actual US Armed Forces almost $33 million dollars over ten years.

When the US Army first unveiled America's Army back in 2002, it had already been funding the project for a good two years. The game, which was half an uber-realistic free FPS and half recruitment tool, was originally announced as a five-year project with a budget of $7 million. Now, almost a decade after expenditures began, data obtained through a GameSpot Freedom of Information Act request has revealed that the game has turned into a 10-year project that has cost the US government $32.8 million dollars.

Whoops.

The free-to-play game has received constant updates since its original 1.0 release in July 2002, the most recent of which was this year's America's Army 3 (in case you're wondering where America's Army 2 went, it was released as America's Army: Special Forces). While the game may have made back some of its budget thanks to the Ubisoft-published console titles America's Army: Rise of a Soldier and 2007's America's Army: True Soldiers, it's likely that the vast majority of the development costs have not been recouped.

One also has to wonder where the money is currently being spent other than on server and bandwidth costs, as the team that developed America's Army 3 was let go a day after shipping the game.

While there's no indication that America's Army has had much impact on army recruitment, it's hard to say it's had no impact at all - in early 2008, a young North Carolinian helped save the lives of victims in a traffic accident thanks to skills he'd learned in the game.

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It does make one wonder...

Be nice to see the breakdown of the costs

Oh dear oh dear, no wonder some soldiers are dieing from lack of equipment.

I'll say that this is probally a good use of my tax dollars.

Better use of the money than buying, what, one tank or an eigth of a Raptor. It's not really that much.

last time i tried AA3 it was totally unplayable anyone know if its fixed?

OT: $33 million sounds like a lot but what percentage of the total funds the US army get is that?

(that sounds like im defending america, whats wrong with me?)

Great, this is JUST what we need to be spending money on now:

National Deficit:

98% debt to China
2% Video game development.

Yay!

33 million?

Ok....MW2 spent that on marketing. For only 33 million dollars, AA has done a hell of a job. I mean yeah, thats a lot more than the original 7 million, but I don't think they were ever thinking about America's Army 2, 3 and all the work that went into them.

Uh huh. 32.8 million.... on a game... when so many Americans do not have jobs...

Hell, a couple of my American friends were laid off, and the Army is doing THIS shit?

No exscuse. Not even that guy who saved lives thanks to the game. No where near freaken worth it.

Get your shit together, and deal with your problems not spending grotesque amounts of money on a video game, when people are jobless. Unless it's of course a plot to get people to join the military :o

Jaredin:
It does make one wonder...

Be nice to see the breakdown of the costs

Game = $7 million
Money transferred to secret weapon research at secret reseach bases Office pens = $25.8 million

Huh. As per fucking usual, anything that is on a set budget always costs 5 times more and is 4 times as late.

If you think thats a waste of money, check out the Scottish Parliment.

Tax dollars for free video games? Yeah, that's pretty cool. But that money could have gone towards...a cup holder in a tank? Could defray that cost a little. This doesn't bother me so much. Maybe it was an effective recruitment tool, and It must have employeed a decent chunk of programmers and designers. I guess there are complaint to be made, but there pretty miniscule in comparison to other complaints.

$33 million? That's it? In this thread posted monday, I pretty much outlined why video games have become an essential part of the military. But for those of you who missed it:

Actually, the Air Force has been using video games for the past decade to train their pilots. Same thing with the Army (a la America's Army). The reason for this is, as explained to me by a veteran, is because it costs 6 figures everytime the military wants to do a live training mission, while it's relatively inexpensive to train their troops using 3D modelling on game consoles.

They have found troops that play more video games have higher shooting accuracy than those who don't. Makes sense to me, and if it keeps the military budget low, I'm all for it.

So, while the Air Force might be using PS3s for a super computer array, they are still using the console and the games developed for it to train their troops. It's a win-win situation for the government and the gaming industry.

I can only imagine what the defense budget would look like with live training missions instead of using video games. I'm sure it would be much more than $33 million over 10 years.

33 Million over 10 years isn't all that much. If someone really wants to complain about this they should be slapped. This is not a "Gross" over use of our taxpayer dollars, this is a recruitment tool and publicly available entertainment medium produced for us by our government. If anything, you should find this pretty awesome.

Also, the economy only recently took a major down-turn. The majority of that money was spent in the years before. And compared to the costs of so many other government projects, this is pretty great.

danpascooch:
Great, this is JUST what we need to be spending money on now:

National Deficit:

98% debt to China
2% Video game development.

Yay!

This isn't NOW, this is over a 10 year period.
Same response to everyone else who says this shouldn't be occuring now. (because it's not).

The budget of the American Government is hundreds of billions of dollars strong. 33 million on the side, while a sizeable number for individuals like you and me, is barely pocket change. This shouldnt be that big a deal, especially considering the game seems to be quite effective in teaching first aid skills.

CantFaketheFunk:
in early 2008, a young North Carolinian helped save the lives of victims in a traffic accident thanks to skills he'd learned in the game.

see games can teach you good things

And how mcuh does the american Army cost per day again?

I'm no expert when it comes to the finances required to build a video game, but this seems rather extreme. Either they've got very poor cost management, or not all of that money was really going towards the video game.

That's nothing.

Break that down into "dollars spent per recruit" and it probably barely scratches the budget.

if you honestly think that this is a good idea you are a complete moron. wasting 33 million on military propaganda is absolutely appalling. this truly sickens me. way to go america, on more reason I hate conservatives and the military.

$33 Million actually does not sound too bad for 3 games and 10 years of advertising. Could be a lot worse considering MW2 cost more than that for just one game without advertisements. I would prefer to see the money go to something else, mind you.

And I still think the game sucks.

Jelekk:
if you honestly think that this is a good idea you are a complete moron. wasting 33 million on military propaganda is absolutely appalling. this truly sickens me. way to go america, on more reason I hate conservatives and the military.

But it's not Military propaganda, The game never says "Hey son, Your pretty good what at killin' em terrorists over there, Why don't you enlist?" It's simply a game produced by the army which can give prospective recruits the tiniest taste of what that entails. You may hate the military, but without it, you'd be screwed. You really don't expect every country to just disarm do you? Your personal politics are fine, But this isn't really a conservative thing to do. In fact if you asked a conservative in the house or senate they'd probably laugh at the idea.

Jesus christ keep some perspective guys. $33 Million is utter chump-change. Hell, $1 BILLION would be considered chump change, that's just a couple of jets. Missles cost millions on their own. I seen to recall the military's budget was something like $350 Billion a year? That makes this 0.00001% of the military's budget per year. That is literally One hundred thousandth of the yearly budget!

ITT people need to learn the difference between millions, billions and trillions.

What this really proves is that fictional war is a thousand times cheaper than real wars.

gRiM_rEaPeRsco:

OT: $33 million sounds like a lot but what percentage of the total funds the US army get is that?

(that sounds like im defending america, whats wrong with me?)

This might be of interest to you.

You're looking at about $650 billion-$1.1 trillion depending on how much you take as part of the 'military' and how much is merely 'military-related'.

And that's over one year, rather than the 10 that the $33 million figure is for.

EddyRhodes93:
Oh dear oh dear, no wonder some soldiers are dieing from lack of equipment.

Do you even know how much that equipment costs? 33 million is /nothing/

if it taught people skills that save even one life (and i seem to remember there being more than one example of this) then it is worth it. America maintains an army to defend its citizens and interests, this game has helped save lives.

plus its great debate material for people defending games.

So, technically, I did pay for it? I didn't really like that game, I want my money back! :/

Amnestic:

gRiM_rEaPeRsco:

OT: $33 million sounds like a lot but what percentage of the total funds the US army get is that?

(that sounds like im defending america, whats wrong with me?)

This might be of interest to you.

You're looking at about $650 billion-$1.1 trillion depending on how much you take as part of the 'military' and how much is merely 'military-related'.

And that's over one year, rather than the 10 that the $33 million figure is for.

wow, im now even more dissapointed in the american government

Quick question, can you get America's Army outside the USA? I've been interested in playing it for a while now but since it's primarily a recruiting tool for the US Army, I don't know if you can download it outside the USA (I'm in the UK, you see). Can someone please let me know if you can download it in the UK?

EddyRhodes93:
Oh dear oh dear, no wonder some soldiers are dieing from lack of equipment.

A standard armored HMMWV of Hummvee costs about $140,000 to produce. 10,000 were deployed in Iraq. That works out at over $1.4 Billion to simply build that many. That number will double by the time you include fuel, ammunition, maintenance and the cost of keeping the soldiers.
$32 million is pocket change to the US Military.

But you're right, that money deffinitly could have gone to better places rather than on a recruiting tool that had little to no impact (Aside from the Canadian dude who saved someone, thumbs up to him).

Trivun:
Quick question, can you get America's Army outside the USA? I've been interested in playing it for a while now but since it's primarily a recruiting tool for the US Army, I don't know if you can download it outside the USA (I'm in the UK, you see). Can someone please let me know if you can download it in the UK?

I'm pretty sure you can order it from somewhere. I think I actually got it off the US Army website and had it shipped to my home in the UK. So there are deffinitly ways of getting it outside America.

Think about it this way, it's roughly 300 million people in the USA, and 33 million dollars equals about 10 cents. So you've basically paid one tenth of a dollar to help the army recruitment (to some degree), and even saved a life.

gRiM_rEaPeRsco:

OT: $33 million sounds like a lot but what percentage of the total funds the US army get is that?

it isnt. GTA4 for the PS3 alone had a budget of 500k $

thevegetarianzombie:
I'm no expert when it comes to the finances required to build a video game, but this seems rather extreme. Either they've got very poor cost management, or not all of that money was really going towards the video game.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2's total budget was over $200 million. [1] While America's Army is not a triple AAA title, $33 million over 10 years is actually quite on the cheaper side.

Depending on how much the armed forces use this game or software developed from it in replacement for live exercises, they might actually be saving quite a bit of money or at least breaking even.

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