Estimates indicate that 80% of the Global Gaming League’s members are males between the ages of 17 and 24, an ideal demographic for the military’s recruitment efforts but one that is also considered difficult to reach through traditional advertising.
The deal will go into effect in June, with the Army sponsoring a new area of the site that will contain 15 different games, as well as monthly tournaments. According to Army officials, the deal presents an opportunity “to tell the army story,” and to show that “it’s not all about combat.”
This is not the military’s first foray into videogame recruitment. In 2002, the Army published the Unreal 2-powered America’s Army, a free first-person shooter designed to give gamers a taste of the soldier’s life. Featuring an offline training mode that required completion before players were allowed to compete online in team-based combat, the game was a phenomenal and surprising success, to the extent that the initial PC release was followed up with Playstation 2 and Xbox versions. In January, the game was reported to have exceeded 8 million registered users from 60 different countries, and a Playstation 3 version, titled Real Heroes, is also in development.