Microsoft Refused to Sell Xbox 360s to US Army

Computer games are a great tool to train soldiers. In fact, there are games labeled as “realistic battlefield simulators” which are almost sold exclusively to armed forces. It seems the US amy is ready to train their troops on the Xbox instead of the PC. Sadly, Microsoft did not seem to like the idea.

Microsoft has its reasons to decline the offer, and according to Roger Smith, chief technology officer for PEO STRI, the Army command responsible for purchasing training equipment, Microsoft declined because of 3 reasons.

  • Low Attach Rate; the Army will only buy a game per console
  • A purchase of this scale will create a shortage of xboxs
  • It will taint the 360’s reputation because of its association with the military training
  • I doubt his reasons; the US Air Force bought 2200 PS3s to form a supercomputer and federal investigators use it to crack encryption codes on child pornographers. And all that time, the no one associated the PS3 with military networks.

    However, why did they choose to buy consoles? For one, they are cheap- costing only $200 compared to the $1000 on an average PC. Also, younger soldiers are more familiar with consoles. It seems like a great idea to train troops on on this, but they would need to hire someone to make their game.

    These “combat simulators” ain’t your average shooters — they are highly tactical. They are as un-user-friendly as a game can get. Build to serve only the armies, average joes will not like the games. Dying and team kills are common for the average gamer. They are build to train soildiers- major users of the simulator VBS2 include the armed forces of the US, UK, Australia, NATO, New Zealand, Netherlands and Singapore.

    Smith adds:

    “Our initial enthusiasm when Xbox and XNA were new products has cooled. At this time we have no active or anticipated projects or R&D that are looking at using either of those products for military simulations. I would be happy to reopen these discussions if Microsoft is interested in selling these products to our community.”

    Sources: Wired and Gizmodo