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"America's Army" Recruitment Video Game Cost Taxpayers $33M

The U.S. Army cost the taxpayer $32.8 million in developing the online videogame America's Army, a recruitment tool, according to GameSpot.

The costs were spread over 10 years. The game was developed as part of the Army's recruitment advertising efforts. All branches of the military combined spent about $700 million on recruitment advertising during the first term of President George W. Bush, when the Iraq war started. Here's a breakdown of expenditures on the video game, which GameSpot got from a Freedom of Information Act request:

  • America's Army year-by-year budget summary
  • 2000--$3,500,000
  • 2001--$5,600,000
  • 2002--$1,862,985
  • 2003--$2,600,000
  • 2004--$3,866,482
  • 2005--$1,288,552
  • 2006--$4,050,748
  • 2007--$2,788,137
  • 2008--$3,887,450
  • 2009--$3,395,702
EuoGamer notes that the project was originally intended to cost just $7 million over five years.

And finally: One of the creepier aspects of America's Army is that in the online multiplayer version, the "enemy" fighters are actually other players, who through a software trick are all playing as U.S. soldiers. None of the players realize they appear as the enemy to the others -- or that they are being subjected to what arguably amounts to friendly fire.

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