The British Ministry of Defense war games had to be improved because of commercial games like Call of Duty and Battlefield 3, the Ministry has admitted. The XBox and Playstation generation are so used to extremely realistic games, that they lose interest if the simulation is not as lifelike as the games they usually play.
For years, troops sent to Afghanistan have been partly trained on Virtual Battlespace 2, according to The Guardian website. Of course, these games are not the only training troops receive, but in this day of budget cuts, simulations are an important supplement to other training.
Andrew Poulter, the Ministry's technical team leader, says that in the 1980s and 1990s the military were "far out in front" in battle simulation. "But now, for Â£50, you can buy a commercial game that will be far more realistic than the sorts of tools we were using. The truth is, the total spending on games development across the industry will be greater than spending on defence."
Of course, for the Ministry of Defense war games must be much more realistic, and entertainment is not a major factor, as long as the player is immersed in the experience. The weapons have to perform the way they would in battle, for instance.
The article states that putting simulations on tablet computers might be the next step in training. It would allow the soldiers and sailors to practice wherever they are, and putting training manuals on the tablets as well would save a lot of money and make them more easily portable.
Where the military goes, other industries usually follow. Soon, perhaps, medical students will use table computers to virtually dissect bodies and learn surgical techniques, and lawyers will learn courtroom procedure by simulated trials.
At least, the military personnel being trained on the games are possibly saving their lives instead of just getting a thrill from blowing things up.