The US Army Esports stream has been made to remove a series of prize giveaway promotions from their Twitch channel. The competition link actually only sent people to an army recruitment sign-up page.
A report from an investigative journalist at The Nation helped reveal the questionably legal recruitment tactic. Several automated chat messages would come up throughout the streaming session, advertising the chance to win an Xbox Elite Series controller. These are high-end console peripherals that can cost up to $200, so that’s an attractive prize for any gamer.
However, the US Army Twitch giveaway was actually just a link to a series of recruitment forms. These pages featured zero mention of the competition that brought people there. Many people pointed out that not only were these fake promotions morally questionable, but they may also violate Twitch Terms of Service and US sweepstakes laws.
Twitch quickly acted, and within 24 hours of the initial report they had put out a statement.
“Per our Terms of Service, promotions on Twitch must comply with all applicable laws. This promotion did not comply with our Terms, and we have required them to remove it,” a company representative said.
So far the neither the US Army Esports team nor Army Recruitment Command have issued any official statements on the issue.
US Army giveaway stokes further controversy
This is not the first time the US Army Esports team has hit the headlines in recent months. At the beginning of July, the official Twitter account for the team posted the cutesy emoticon “UwU,” in response to a tweet from chat service Discord. This led to the team’s official Discord channel being flooded with troll posts and political memes. The admins of the Discord group began blocking and deleting people who posted critical content.
Some Twitter users even posted videos of themselves “speed running” to see who could join and get banned within the fastest time.
Shortly after, the Discord channel’s open chat section was closed down by mods. Twitch and Twitter users have continued to troll the team’s official platforms since then, such as in the video below.
— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) July 8, 2020
Taken together, these cases demonstrate some clear hostility from social media when it comes to the US Army using esports as a recruitment tool. Although it may be in the public eye for now, this tactic is nothing new.
The Army has been using video games to entice new recruits since as far back as 2002, with the release of PC shooter America’s Army.
The official esports team started in 2018. It competes in a variety of games including Street Fighter, Call of Duty, Fortnite, and CS:GO.
The US Army’s Twitch giveaway tactic used here was definitely not acceptable, as backed up by Twitch. However, debate remains as to whether video games have a place in army recruitment at all. What do you think about this controversial issue for many?