Microsoft turned down US army XBox contract

It has emerged that four years ago Microsoft turned down a potentially huge and profitable deal with the US military which had wanted to stock up on Xbox 360 consoles for soldier training.

Roger Smith, the chief technology officer for PEO STRI, responsible for buying Army training equipment, told Wired that Microsoft turned its nose up at the deal, sniveling that the Army would probably only buy one game per console, and would probably order so many as to create a shortage of the consoles in the consumer markets.

Clearing Microsoft out of its inventory? Oh, boo-hoo, Microsoft! Did no one teach your people the rules of supply and demand? 

Apparently another reason Microsoft wasn’t keen on getting down and dirty with the Army was that it didn’t want to hurt its image and reputation, in the face of those bright eyed little kiddie souls who respect the company so much. Yah, right.

Because it’s so totally uncool to play a console that the US army uses to train REAL soldiers on. People would have lost all respect immediately, we’re sure. Not.

Also, what gives with your patriotism, Microsoft? Is helping your own country’s soldiers in a time of conflict deemed less important than selling truckloads of commercial games to couch potato players instead?

When Wired contacted Microsoft to find out what was going on, Microsoft brushed the questions aside, noting that the military had “multiple avenues to pursue building simulations.” 

“They can team up with a professional Xbox 360 publisher and development studio that have the expertise to assist them with development of a complex simulation.” 

In other words, feel free to use our platform, but we’re not going to help you do it.

But according to Smith, that’s fine, because the Army may not even want to use Xbox anymore anyway.

“Our initial enthusiasm when Xbox and XNA were new products has cooled,” he said, adding “at this time we have no active or anticipated projects or R&D that are looking at using either of those products for military simulations.” 

As an afterthought Smith did concede that he would, however, “be happy to reopen these discussions if Microsoft is interested in selling these products to our community.”

Personally, Smith, we’d go with Nintendo if you want to train Wii’l soldiers.