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Ubisoft fends off anti-war protesters

Ubisoft fends off anti-war protesters

Protesters argue that the US Army should not be using taxes to fund recruitment tools like the America's Army games.

Ubisoft has had to fend off anti-war protesters recently after one of the company offices became the staging ground for a protest against the America's Army franchise.

Leading the protest was former soldier Ryan Lockwood who, according to MTV, was backed by the Veterans Against the War group. The group is protesting over the way that the US Army is funding the development of the America's Army series as a recruitment tool.

"It's definitely a recruitment tool, and the fact that it's put out by the federal government and being funded from our tax dollars sounds illegal to me," Ryan told MTV.

"I'm not exactly sure what the laws are, but if it is being funded by our tax dollars, we have the right to say, 'Hey, stop taking our money and using it for stupid sh**.'"

Asked why the group was protesting against America's Army specifically and not just all military games, such as any of the Tom Clancy series which are also developed by Ubisoft, Ryan said that the difference was that one was a realistic game, the other a simulation built with US tax money.

Ubisoft's US president Laurent Detoc said that the company had every right to publish the game on consoles, but that the publisher had no plans for further installments - though he was hazy on whether that would mean an end to the series. The game has not been published in Europe.

What do you think to America's Army and other similar military games? Let us know in the forums.

22 Comments

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liratheal 8th August 2008, 11:05 Quote
I can see where the anti-war protesters are coming from - It is one of the more realistic 'games'.

That said, why are they not concerned about Operation Flashpoint, ArmA and ArmA's sequel?

They're just as 'real' in my experience, if not more so in some situations.
Bauul 8th August 2008, 11:41 Quote
I understand they object, but the US army isn't doing anything illegal, it has every right to develop games as recruitment tools, don't they?
Risky 8th August 2008, 11:41 Quote
"Protesters argue that the US Army should not be using taxes to fund recruitment tools..........."

I think it's faily essential for the Army to try and recruit.
thefiringsquadman 8th August 2008, 12:07 Quote
Well, America's Army truly became a recruiting tool at the release of 2.7/2.8 where the actual modifications for recruiting were added in (As well as the dreaded mapping tool, seeing as 80% of all the AA servers play on SOME custom map) It's been nearly a year since AA began having recruitment tools in the game, so I'm surprised that I'm just hearing complaints now (Most gamers usually just avoid the recruitment tool(s) unless they want to join or get bored)

On another note, I think it's completely fair for the Army to try and recruit through any medium, but many people/parents are against this because they say "Oh, well your recruitment programs are just targeting teens, and we don't find that fair." Or something to that tune. True it has been a few months since I've even opened my AA, but I do know that the recruitment NPCs (The hall of heroes thing or w/e) doesn't try very hard to recruit you and it is more user choice than it is forced decision.
Timmy_the_tortoise 8th August 2008, 12:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Lockwood
I'm not exactly sure what the laws are

Well then, shut the hell up.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Cockwood
but if it is being funded by our tax dollars, we have the right to say, 'Hey, stop taking our money and using it for stupid sh**.

No, you don't have that right. Once you've paid your taxes, that money then belongs to the government, and they may distribute it as they please.
MrMonroe 8th August 2008, 14:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmy_the_tortoise
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Cockwood
but if it is being funded by our tax dollars, we have the right to say, 'Hey, stop taking our money and using it for stupid sh**.

No, you don't have that right. Once you've paid your taxes, that money then belongs to the government, and they may distribute it as they please.

Kinda this. Tax dollars go to army recruitment drives. This is not news. People are freaking out here because woah new medium scary technology and I don't know how to talk to my kids about it.

And, no you don't have the right to go straight to the company the government paid to do something and protest them. You're supposed to write letters to your representatives in Congress.

EDIT: But "Cockwood?" C'mon.
Timmy_the_tortoise 8th August 2008, 14:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMonroe
Kinda this. Tax dollars go to army recruitment drives. This is not news. People are freaking out here because woah new medium scary technology and I don't know how to talk to my kids about it.

And, no you don't have the right to go straight to the company the government paid to do something and protest them. You're supposed to write letters to your representatives in Congress.

EDIT: But "Cockwood?" C'mon.

Cockwood was a bit much...

Still, he is being a bit of an arse. I just hate the whole mentality "the government is stealing our money!" It's not your money, and most of it goes to good causes.
Cadillac Ferd 8th August 2008, 19:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by liratheal
I can see where the anti-war protesters are coming from - It is one of the more realistic 'games'.

That said, why are they not concerned about Operation Flashpoint, ArmA and ArmA's sequel?

They're just as 'real' in my experience, if not more so in some situations.
I think his big problem was the fact that it was being funded by the Army (and by extension the taxpaying public) not necessarily just the fact that the game is very realistic.
JSRiolo 8th August 2008, 23:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Cockwood
but if it is being funded by our tax dollars, we have the right to say, 'Hey, stop taking our money and using it for stupid sh**.

We haven't had the ability to say that for some time. War on poverty? War on drugs? Hello? Talk about some stupid ****...

All we can do is vote the *******s out.
Yemerich 10th August 2008, 00:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bauul
I understand they object, but the US army isn't doing anything illegal, it has every right to develop games as recruitment tools, don't they?

Guess so as long Ubi doesn't make nay profit out of it.

It would be interesting if the youngsters in america say "no" to enlistings cuz the game is cool enough...
America... always at war for something... Or nothing...
yodasarmpit 10th August 2008, 01:12 Quote
A bit odd that this has come out now, seeing as the game has been available for the last 5 years.
cjmUK 10th August 2008, 12:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yemerich
Guess so as long Ubi doesn't make nay profit out of it.

Why can't Ubisoft make money from it?

Don't you think Halliburton, Boeing, General Electric and Grumman make money out of the DoD? What about the stationers who provide the pens, and the advertising agencies who run the adverts, and the air conditioning engineers who help maintain the bases?

The DoD sub-contract lots of work to lots of companies; it would be vastly more expensive (and therefore irresponsible) for the DoD to keep such skills in-house. Would you rather they hire their own development team to develop AA?
careyd 10th August 2008, 15:19 Quote
I just don't get this non-sensical protest around a video game that's been published for 'eons' in internet time.

If you're anti-war, or even anti-military, that's fine! That's your right. But the simple fact is that the US Army has always been funded by taxpayer dollars and that has always included recruiting and marketing costs. Whether posters, flyers, TV commercials or internet sites or even banner ads, it's all recruitment effort. Why single out a video game for your anti-tax-funded-recruitment protests? If you really have an issue with the whole thing, then you should be targeting the whole concept of recruiting, not one specific tool they use.

Duh.
1ad7 11th August 2008, 00:07 Quote
Im surprised this I guess former soldier has the balls to put his name out like that. Im pretty sure he has lost all of his former army buddy's due to these actions. Its a recruiting tool and while its kinda weird to use a army game to recruit soldiers I don't think there target is overly violent screaming teens, IE BF2 I think they are more focused on military minded individuals who also enjoy video games and obviously don't hate the military. Its a great idea and shows that the military is open minded to new mediums which is good.
Burnin' 11th August 2008, 16:26 Quote
guess the US Army is running out of latinos and black people that is now recruiting it's own white kids... those poor kids that can't tell the difference between a game and the real stuff. Those kids convinced by their own parents that their country is fighting for "liberty" and "democracy" in some middle eastern crap hole...

Can't blame the government... it's actually a great marketing practice
Nexxo 11th August 2008, 16:54 Quote
I think that Lockwood has a point (hear me out, now).

The issue is the method of recruitment rather than recruitment per se. Sure, the army recruits. Usually it is quite up front in its methods: stands at employment/education fairs, "Be All You Can Be" commercials and adverts here and there. However I can imagine that as a parent I would be a bit concerned if recruitment tactics are sort of snuck into my kids' console/computer game without this being pretty explicit, in the same way that I might not feel it is OK for Army recruitment officers to have a nice chat with my underage kid about how cool the army is and whether he ever considered a career in it, without my knowledge.

Teenagers can be a bit more naive and suggestible, and if there are concerns that computer/console games are psychologically influential enough to distort someone's views on acts of violence, could it not be argued that they could also distort the gamer's views on enlisting into the army? Just saying.

The second question is whether tax dollars can thus be spent legitimally. In theory, the voting public decides how their money (and yes, it is their money) is being spent, and I like to think that we (still) have the democratic right to protest and object if we feel that our money is not redeployed in ways that we generally agree with. People have a right to protest, just as much as they have a right to vote.
liratheal 11th August 2008, 17:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
I think that Lockwood has a point (hear me out, now).

The issue is the method of recruitment rather than recruitment per se. Sure, the army recruits. Usually it is quite up front in its methods: stands at employment/education fairs, "Be All You Can Be" commercials and adverts here and there. However I can imagine that as a parent I would be a bit concerned if recruitment tactics are sort of snuck into my kids' console/computer game without this being pretty explicit, in the same way that I might not feel it is OK for Army recruitment officers to have a nice chat with my underage kid about how cool the army is and whether he ever considered a career in it, without my knowledge.

I'd have thought the whole.. "Americas Army" title and the entire game revolving around recreation of combat environments would serve as fair demonstration as to the point. It's not exactly subtle about what you're going to do within the game. Not having played it I can't say, but I'd have thought there'd be some sort of note somewhere in there that at least mentions it's a military funded simulation. Probably isn't, but I'd have thought there should be some somewhere.

That's just my take on it, though. I'm sure you've got some response that'll shoot that like fish in a barrel though :P
boiled_elephant 11th August 2008, 17:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by liratheal
I can see where the anti-war protesters are coming from - It is one of the more realistic 'games'.

That said, why are they not concerned about Operation Flashpoint, ArmA and ArmA's sequel?

They're just as 'real' in my experience, if not more so in some situations.

Yeah, but they're so mercilessly difficult and realistic that they don't sell army service as glamorous or easy. Which, as I understand it (which I don't, very well) America's Army does.
Smegwarrior 12th August 2008, 12:54 Quote
I agree with Nexxo, maybe the recruitment side of it should be that if they want to offer the chance to "Be all you can be" to someone that is under 18 and playing the game that their parents have to make contact with the recruitment office and that way the parents can have the chance to talk to their kid about the implications of signing up for service to their country.

It would go like this:
A kid is playing AA and the Army decides that they seem to have good strategy skills or leadership skills and wants to offer them the chance to enlist.
A message is sent to the player that they seem to have suitable skills for the armed forces and if they are under 18 then they should talk to their parents about a possible career in the armed forces.
If the player is over 18 they can then decide for themselves whether to pursue the offer, if they are under 18 then they have to talk to their parents about it, trying to enlist without their permission is not allowed.
If the parents are ok with them enlisting the parents contact the recruitment office and quote an AA recruitment offer code which allows the recruitment office to see the details as to why they were offered the chance.
An enlistment form is sent out that the kid and parents have to read and sign then send back.
The kid then starts their career in the cadets until they turn 18 and are approved for normal duty.

This way the game works as a recruitment tool but has safeguards against kids signing up for something they do not fully understand.
Risky 12th August 2008, 13:27 Quote
I played AA for a while and will again some time (Mostly just insurgent camp defense fwiw). There was a distinct effort in the game to push for improved teamwork over gung-ho bravado. THe forums has continuous treads from kids wanting knives, pistols, shotguns and the rest which wasn't really the idea when the game was about squad-based tactics, (though I understand some other weapons have appeared in the Special Forces add-ons)
liratheal 12th August 2008, 13:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by boiled_elephant
Yeah, but they're so mercilessly difficult and realistic that they don't sell army service as glamorous or easy. Which, as I understand it (which I don't, very well) America's Army does.

I can't say I agree with the difficulty (Unless you're shooting the M107, that really is a bugger), but I can see what you mean (Though, I've never played AA).
TurtlePerson2 21st January 2009, 14:52 Quote
Recruitment funded by our tax dollars! Where do these people think that the money for the army comes from?
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