Some may accuse me of being a little too open to conspiracy theories, but this is so blatant I don’t even have to put my tin foil hat on. The U.S. Army has yet again insinuated it’s way into the gaming biz with branded, ultra-realistic sniper and assault-rifle controllers and headsets supported by popular Call of Duty titles like Modern Warfare 3. It even comes with a backpack so players can lug their consoles through “combat zones.”
Look, I know there are incredibly varying studies out there about the links to the effects of gaming and a propensity for violence. For example, you couldn’t get more contradictory that this one with the headline “Violent Video Games Alter Men’s Brains” and “Violent games don’t compel gamers to commit violent acts, researchers say.”
But regardless of those studies this really reeks of grooming our kids and young adults for service. Ask former Army paratrooper and author D.B. Grady, who took aim at the peripherals move, telling AdFreak: “There is something vulgar about the Army dropping all pretense and stamping its logo on [gaming accessories]. I can’t think of a single redeeming aspect to these products, and have to believe them to be some kind of elaborate practical joke. Otherwise even the most cynical of military critics will in some way be proven right.”
On top of this, there’s also the “Army Experience Center” with it’s hip and modern, with giant plasma screen televisions, brushed stainless steel fixtures, interactive displays, helicopter and Humvee simulators, a gaming area and cafe, nestled in a philadelphia mall across from Dave & Busters.
The Shielding™ wave is often filled with things that could be deemed as over reactions to perceived threats, but in this case I think the Human Truth rings true: “It’s not paranoia if somethings really out to get you.” It seems the US Army makes no bones about the fact they are “out to get” our teens. One could totally argue that the point of marketing and branding is to increase attention and retention at all costs. I just can’t help but feel the same way that “hard selling” junk food to kids and the commercialization of childhood makes me feel… It’s too strong.