In late May, the U.S. Air Force announced its intention to release an advanced video game simulation. The theory is that the game, if successful, will be an effective recruitment tool among high school students.
If this sounds familiar, it's because the U.S. Army already did the exact same thing with a game called "America's Army," launched in 2002. That one was for a while relatively popular, but as a recruitment tool there's little doubt it failed. Indeed, it was panned early and often for claiming to offer a realistic soldiering experience while glamorizing it as an exciting and largely consequence-free adventure. The game, of course, never showed the tedium or the dark side of military service in conflict—but what proper recruitment propaganda ever does?
Not content to merely copy a failed program, the so-far untitled Air Force game seeks to combine the allure of video games with the Orwellian realities of modern "big data" applications that the government is so fond of.
In this case, officials have suggested they are literally going to monitor players to spot particularly talented ones they can recruit.
Call it recruitment recon.