War Games…For Warriors Only

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The military’s growing separation from U.S. society is filtering into bizarre nooks and crannies of American life. Check out this new video game: Medal of Honor Warfighter Military Edition. It’s a joint venture by GovX, Inc. – “the largest online shopping destination exclusively serving verified military, law enforcement and related government personnel and their families” – and Electronic Arts, the big video-game producer.

“This will be the first time a major video game release will offer a special edition that will only be available to verified active, reserve, retired and former military personnel,” a Monday announcement said, “and not the general public.”

Well, excuse us.

“This is a uniquely exceptional video game, precisely the kind of game to lead the industry with a privileged Military Edition,” said Tony Farwell, President and a founder of GovX, Inc. “Not only is Medal of Honor a massively popular game franchise, it’s a more personal, plot-based game with a deep pathos and authenticity that serves to further heighten our respect for those who serve.

Hmm…heightening the respect for those who serve  — but only among those who serve, or have served? Seems like they’re missing a target audience: those who haven’t served. It’s part of the increasing cult-like devotion to the military, which creates its own set of dangers in a democracy. It’s also done to create an aura of exclusivity that some elements of society crave like capitalist crack cocaine (EA points out that the plain vanilla Medal of Honor Warfighter will be available to the general public).

Continues the press release:

Written by U.S. Tier 1 Operators while deployed overseas and inspired by real world events, Medal of Honor Warfighter delivers an up close and personal look at today’s battlefield and the fight against the ongoing global terror threat. From rescuing hostages in Abu Sayyaf’s stronghold in the Philippines to assaulting Al-Shabaab’s “Pirate Town” on the Somali Coast, Medal of Honor Warfighter puts players in the boots of today’s most highly trained and skilled warriors to experience missions that have a dotted line to real world terrorist threats. Powered by the ground-breaking Frostbite™ 2 engine, Medal of Honor Warfighter features real world hotspots in the single player campaign and introduces international Tier 1 Operators from 10 different nations in multiplayer allowing players to show their national pride online. Medal of Honor Warfighter Military Edition includes the Medal of Honor Warfighter Limited Edition containing the U.S. Navy SEAL Tier 1 Sniper multiplayer unlock [doesn’t anyone read these press releases before they send them out?], as well as exclusive in-game unlocks, including use of the Project HONOR camouflage pattern.

The companies note that a recent survey “that measured video game usage among military and non-military peers, showed that military video game users are more likely to play first person shooter games, the most popular genre of games overall, and play for a longer period of time than their non-military peers [surely, sitting around Afghanistan has nothing to do with that]. Survey participants further demonstrated demand for a military edition when those who are or were in the military responded that they had a strong preference to purchase a military edition in order to compete exclusively against others in the military, have a designation or badge indicating their military status, and have a donation given to military foundations.”

GovX and EA say they “will also contribute to the Navy SEAL Foundation and Special Operations Warrior Foundation” once they beginning selling the game Oct. 23 for $59.89. It’s the latest example where merchants pledge to donate some usually unspecified share of their proceeds to military charities as a kind of toll for access to the military market.

None dare call it war profiteering.