In the face of not meeting recruitment targets for the first time in over 10 years, the US Army is taking a rather unorthodox step and setting up its very own eSports team. No joke. By offering potential recruits the chance to play video games for the most lethal army in the world, the US Army is hoping to connect with a younger subsection of Americans in the hope of swelling their ranks to offset the 6,500 soldier deficit recorded this year.
The Army eSports team will form part of the Marketing and Engagement Brigade and will based at Fort Knox. Their duties involve representing the Army in competitions and events, while simultaneously acting as Quality Assurance testers for beta versions of apps, training, and sim software used in promotional interactive tech.
As SSG Meaux puts it in a Reddit post, ‘This initiative will help make our Soldiers more visible and relatable to today’s youth…to help young people see Soldiers in a different light and understand the many different roles people can have in the Army’.
The team already has various social media accounts over on Instagram, Facebook, and even Twitch. The Army is also holding tryouts for the team in the coming months and those interested can sign up until November 30th. The team’s first appearance is penciled in for this December with the winner headed to PAX South in 2019 as the Army’s representative.
From what we understand, active duty troops, reservists, and veterans can sign up and the games covered are Fortnite, Call of Duty, Tekken, League of Legends, PUBG, Overwatch, FIFA, Madden, and NBA 2K.
Whether the PR push will work is anyone’s guess, but we’re hard pressed to see the growing number of gamers attracted by the proposition of joining the eSports world as part of the army rather than following more accepted paths to pro player status. The marketing material worthy of a middle school project doesn’t help.