Army to invest $50M in combat training games

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The Army has created a video game unit and will invest $50 million over five years on games and gaming systems designed to prepare soldiers for combat.Lt. Col. Gary Stephens, product manager for air and ground tactical trainers at Project Executive Office — Simulation Training and Instrumentation said Thursday that the $50 million has been approved for a “games for training” program starting in 2010.

“The Army takes this seriously,” Stephens said of PEO-STRI and its Army gaming unit, which will handle military video game requirements. “We own gaming for the Army — from requirements through procurement,” he said.

Game development has become a multibillion-dollar industry in recent years, with large game studios employing thousands of developers and sales that compete with Hollywood’s blockbusters.

“We want to take advantage of that, but we don’t have the intent to become a competitor with the commercial gaming industry,” Stephens said. “We don’t have the intent or capability to be a commercial game house.”

Instead, the Army gaming unit will watch trends in the industry and identify technology that can be used for military training, he said.

The need for video games  (Read the full article at Stars & Stripes)

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