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Video games training for America's military

US military to increasingly use video games as a training tool.

Video games will play an integral role in the training of the US military in the future, according to Colonel Robert White, the deputy commander of the Combined Arms Centre - Training.

He spoke to an Army conference in Orlando, Florida as a computer generated avatar to highlight its use.

"I'm sorry I couldn't get to Orlando in person so I sent a 'Mini Me' to fill in," White said. "And I have to say, he looks pretty good."

"One of my responsibilities is setting the future course for training in the army," he said. "And as you all know, gaming has a significant role in that future."

He has an important role in overseeing how video games are implemented into army instruction as he leads a training centre at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The base produces and supports educational materials that the whole of the army utilises.

From his experience in the field of duty, he knows the benefits it can bring to live training and it can also cut costs from America's extortionate military budget.

"Every leader struggles with limited time, dollars and resources," Colonel White said.

"Those same leaders know it's better to practice something first before you do it for real in live training. Live training is where our highest risk and greatest expense comes from."

Gaming allows soldiers to benefit from repeating scenarios over and over, to improve their decision-making and it demonstrates how the army can adapt to available technologies.

Back in 2002 the US Army released America's Army, an online free-to-play first-person shooter that was used as a PR tool to help boost recruitment. Developed by the Pentagon, it aimed to be entertaining as well as realistic and informative.

Gamers have to pass through a rigorous offline training scheme before they can fight as America's infantry on the internet.

The game was a success, leading to two sequels and a number of awards.

A report compiled by MIT in 2008 announced that 30 per cent of 16 to 24 year olds had a better impression of the US Army because of the game.

Furthermore, it supposedly had a better impact on recruits than any other type of advertisement.ADNFCR-1220-ID-801329578-ADNFCR