The Hidden Potential of Binge Gamers


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The latest British army recruitment advertisements targeted “binge gamers.”

Angie Leung, Reporter

Colleges might brush-off your identity as a “binge gamer,” “phone zombie” and “selfie addict,” but the British Armed Forces has taken interest in your unique potential.

The British Army’s New Recruitment Target Demographic — “Me Me Me Millennials”

In early January, the U.K. Defense Ministry released a trilogy series of army recruitment posters and TV advertisements called “Your Army Needs You,” which targeted an unorthodox demographic: the stereotypical “Me me me millennials” who are perceived to be self-obsessed and addicted to technology.  

The latest recruitment videos portrayed young adults occupying stereotypical jobs, such as stowing away shopping carts at a supermarket, and it then projected their skillset as prospective contributions to the British army. Specifically, the video “Your Army Needs You, and Your Stamina” called binge gamers to better deploy their “stamina” for military missions in devastated villages.

The unconventional approach to this recruitment campaign was motivated by the British army’s consistent low recruitment numbers and substantial dropout rates, possibly due to its extensive application process.

Gen. Nick Carter, chief of the general staff, states, “This campaign is a recognition that we don’t have a fully manned army at the moment, that the demography of our country has changed, and that we need to reach out to a broader community in order to man that army with the right talent.”

However, in this strategical appeal to a broader population, some have raised a controversy, arguing that the video mocked the stereotypical millennial for being a “binge gamer” and criticizing whether video gaming skills are proper recruitment prerequisites.

The Intersection of Gaming and War

According to Nick Turse, author of the book “The Complex: How the Military Invades Our Everyday Lives,” attachment to gaming transforms warfare into a more detached manner, like pushing buttons as opposed to associating the negative externalities with lost lives.

In addition, gamers who play violent video games risk facing an artificial reality with a numbed sense of violence and romanticized war views. Whereas, it is imperative that military personnel remain intact with their sense of reality, without becoming desensitized to violence for the sake of peaceful global interactions, raising the question: Are video game skills proper recruitment material?

Violence in a video game is different than violence in real life.”

— Anya Lee '20

Because British Armed Forces, like many militaries around the globe, utilize video game simulations to train personnel and recruit young adults, conflict therein lies between adopting a video game sense of violence and adequately preparing military personnel to act sharply in times of violence.  

Junior Anya Lee, who plays the battle royale video game “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds,” also agrees: “Violence in a video game is different than violence in real life.”

Lee adds that although playing video games can develop one’s sense of teamwork, coordination and prompt communication skills, there are other aspects, like physical and mental maturity, that qualify gamers to be proper recruitment material.

But As Lee states, “If they are trained properly and have the desire to go to war, then yes, getting recruited [for] playing video games would be a benefit to you and the country you are serving.”