Why the US Millitary are Using Video Games for Training

Why the US Millitary are Using Video Games for Training

The debate over whether violent video games are suitable for children – or even adults – has been raging for what seems like all of eternity. Whichever side of the fence you sit on there, world militaries (Especially in the USA) have taken a special interest in the video games industry over the last decade for many reasons, some of which might not be so obvious.  

A little history 

Ever since 1992 with the release of the most controversial game of the time, Mortal Kombat, it has been argued by many that violent video games create violent people. In the modern-day where graphics are starting to become incomprehensibly detailed and gameplay starts to imitate real-life warfare, the debate has become hotter than ever, but science has pretty much firmly kept its observations in place – that there is no provable link between violence in video games and the rate of violent crimes committed in real life. 

Video games can definitely teach you some extremely useful skills. The titanic First-Person Shooter franchises “Call of Duty” and “Battlefield” are the most relevant to the military. These games aim to emulate the real-life experience of soldiers in their chosen era, and developers have become extremely proficient at it.  

Untamed realism 

With dozens of licenses to allow the use of the exact designs of genuine guns, players can receive a detailed understanding of how to correctly operate currently in-service firearms and a basic understanding of how to aim and fire, especially with controllers increasingly being designed to emulate real triggers. 

Along with this, many of these games emulate tactics used by current militaries all over the world and will often even include up-to-date use of military lingo and code. This all serves to immerse players in the game in a way that can also help new army recruits learn some of what they should expect from a real-world battlefield. a lot of people get rainbow six siege boosting to save time, but maybe it’s worth sinking those extra few hours into playing the game yourself and honing your skills if you are considering joining the military. 

Play to prepare 

Perhaps as a response to this, the US Army has been developing a video game to train new recruits. With a vertical slice available for anyone to play, this program shows that the power of modern games can be used to prepare civilians for combat, even if only in the most basic way.  

Even with games such as Spec Ops: The Line and “Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare” giving an emotive and semi-accurate depiction of PTSD and the pure horrors of combat, there is currently no way to fully prepare someone for the overwhelming atmosphere of war. With the meteoric rise of VR gaming in the last few years, this is surely going to become untrue within the next decade. 

Sound in mind and body 

Shooters aren’t the only potential training ground for the military of the future. Many tactical games, from RTS games to Tactical RPGs (Role Playing Games, not the weapon!) also aim to emulate genuine army tactics and strategies. With the ultra-real Company of Heroes allowing grand scale control of a battlefield to XCOM displaying a fantasy world with real-life special forces tactics, there are dozens of games that can help you think like a squad – or even a general. 

Even when they don’t aim to show you a real battle, these games can still get your brain ready to think like a tactician. Especially since modern military squad management programs have now started to emulate the designs of some strategy games! 


A lesser-known use of video games in the military is with the control of drones and other equipment. Military software developers are extremely resourceful, and the vast majority of drones are not controlled with a joystick and controls like in the movies. Even modern cannons are controlled electronically and piloted by someone using an Xbox One controller. 

As a result, a lot of the targeting software being developed by the US military is being designed with game controllers in mind. This means that even in the back lines of war, having a completely subconscious knowledge of how a controller feels is an invaluable asset to the US military. Even being a pro at Microsoft Flight Simulator can be a considerable factor in being hired as a drone pilot. 

As harrowing as this all might sound, a better-trained military that has fewer people on the front line is a brilliant way to ensure that as few people as possible are hurt in international disputes. Quite a funny thought when you remember that the public opinion on violent video games has been overwhelmingly negative for almost 3 decades.