With military recruitment numbers considerably low, the United States Army is exploring new avenues. Reports state that potential joins are less likely to engage in recruiters over the phone. With young men being a core demographic in the military, recruiters are now going where the action is. The Army is targeting the competitive gaming scene in order to speak to their most-needed demographic. They have even gone so far as to host their own esports tournaments within their ranks.
The US Army has been reportedly targeting popular titles such as Fortnite and Madden NFL. This new esports-based initiative aims to encourage one-on-one conversations between young males and recruiters. With their goals down by a staggering 6,500 soldiers, this is in hopes of drumming up more recruitment and selling youth on serving their country. Reasons for low recruitment include low unemployment rates and failure to qualify based on army standards.
Coming as a shock in July of this year, the Army hosted its first live-streamed tournament. The game of choice was Street Fighter V, and it was open to all men and women currently serving. The esports division, called Army Entertainment, was comprised of eight garrisons. Each hosted a local tournament, with Fort Wainwright, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Ford Gordon, and Fort Bliss participating.
The top players from each army garrison progressed to the finals, held at PAX West Arena in Seattle. The action was streamed from the Army Entertainment Twitch channel. This competition wasn’t just for fun though – gamers were competing for prizes. These included $500 gift cards, a two-night stay at a top Vegas resort, and tons of merchandise.
With organizations such as ELEAGUE joining up with the US Air Force, it seems the military has a big future in esports. What are your thoughts? Do you think the Army has a good place in esports? Tell us!
Programmer. Writer. Digital media specialist. Competitive gamer in the sense that I’m competing with the constant urge to throw the controller across the room.