CoD, FPS and the US military

With a $500 million gross its first day in release, and experts predicting sales of twenty million copies by the end of the year, Call of Duty Black Ops 2 is the current big daddy of games.

Playing war games is fun because it puts you on the battlefield safely without real bullets whizzing by your head. But can FPS war games like Call of Duty influence the real life military?

Indeed, military experts were called in to help make Call of Duty more realistic, and while CoD draws from real life war, one of the consultants for the game told Fox News, “The experience of working on the fictional game was definitely an aid to my non-fictional work. It serves as an inspiration for the real world and sets expectations for the future.”

Call of Duty is heavy with modern military technology, like flying drones, robots, and microwave weapons.The franchise is also close to war games exercises, with a report on TechNewsDaily noting that gaming has been healthy for soldiers to play after serving in war. 

Indeed, soldiers playing hardcore games like Call of Duty and Battlefield “seem better able to take control and fight back against aggressive threats and violence in their dreams…By contrast, soldiers who did not play video games much suffered from more emotional distress and a frozen sense of helplessness in their dreams.”

There have also been reports on how soldiers are being trained with video games, which is apparently very beneficial in the long run. As Greg Voakes of Forbes points out, while some criticize training soldiers with video games because it could potentially desensitize them to violence, others feel that it could have the opposite effect. 

“By training a solider in an accurate recreation of former missions,” Voakes wrote. “Military analysts believe that video game developers are helping to prepare soldiers for the battlefield in a way never before possible.”

The site Venturebeat also asked a soldier about military themed games, who said realism wasn’t all that important to him in a war game.

“I’d say fantasy is more likely to factor. I often use FPS as a form of cheap therapy and a way to relax after a long day. The actions can be the same, but if it can divorce itself that much further from reality, it’s certainly not a bad thing.”

In terms of accuracy, the solider said Killzone and Fallout were the most realistic in recreating combat.