For two decades, the U.S. Army used a video game to reach new recruits. It’s finally shutting it down.
Matthew Gault | Vice - America’s Army: Proving Grounds, a game used as a recruitment tool by the United States government, is shutting down its servers on May 5 after existing in various iterations for 20 years. After that date, the game will be delisted on Steam and removed from the PSN store. Offline matches and private servers will work, but the game will no longer track stats or provide online matches.
For 20 years, players have been able to download and play the Counter-Strike-esque game for free on PCs and consoles. It was a recruitment tool when no one else was using video games for recruitment, a free-to-play game well before that became common, and an attempt by the U.S. Army to reach a new generation of Americans.
“The free-to-play America’s Army PC Game represented the first large-scale use of game technology by the U.S. government as a platform for strategic communication and recruitment, and the first use of game technology in support of U.S. Army recruiting,” a forum post announcing the game’s shutdown said. “Three mainline titles and more than 20 million AA players later, the series’ original purpose continued. There have been over 30 million objectives completed, 180 million successful missions accomplished, 250 million teammates assisted, and many more in-game achievements attained in AA:PG alone.”