From this story, it sure makes Microsoft looks stupid.
So will the Army go out and buy the Xbox? Not quite. Roger Smith, chief technology officer for PEO STRI, the Army command responsible for purchasing training equipment, claims that Microsoft refused to sell him the consoles. Smith told me that he discussed acquiring the Xbox with Microsoft representatives at a trade show back in 2006. According to Smith, the Microsoft executives said they would neither sell the Xbox 360 nor license XNA game development tools to the Army for three reasons:
- Microsoft was afraid that the military would buy up lots of Xbox 360s, but would buy only one game for each of them, so MS wouldn’t make much money off of the games.
- A big military purchase could create a shortage of Xbox 360s.
- If the Xbox became an Army training device, it could taint its reputation. Microsoft was concerned that “do we want the Xbox 360 to be seen as having the flavor of a weapon? Do we want Mom and Dad knowing that their kid is buying the same game console as the military trains the SEALs and Rangers on?” Smith told me during an interview for Training & Simulation Journal.
It’s hard to believe that Microsoft would risk a public relations disaster by refusing to sell products that would save the lives of American soldiers during time of war. So I contacted Microsoft, and received an e-mail response, or rather a response relayed through their outside PR agency Edelman. Microsoft spokesman David Dennis said he had no knowledge of Smith’s conversations with Microsoft representatives, but that the Army…
“has multiple avenues to pursue building simulations. They can team up with a professional Xbox 360 publisher and development studio that have the expertise to assist them with development of a complex simulation. In fact, the Army has successfully done this in the past by working with publishers such as Ubisoft (’America’s Army’) and THQ (’Full Spectrum Warrior’). Or, if the Army prefers to build a simulation without engaging game development professionals, Microsoft has also enabled independent developers to create games for the Xbox 360 using the XNA Game Studio development tools, and deploy and play them on retail Xbox 360 consoles using an XNA Premium Creator’s Club membership.”
Microsoft’s answer didn’t address the question of whether the company would be willing to sell large quantities of Xbox 360s to the Army. Nor do I have any idea how classified military training simulations would work on the XNA Creator’s Club, which features titles such as “Rocket Fart.” Yet Microsoft at least seems receptive.
Problem solved, right? Wrong. Now Smith says the Army might not be interested in the Xbox after all. “Our initial enthusiasm when Xbox and XNA were new products has cooled. At this time we have no active or anticipated projects or R&D that are looking at using either of those products for military simulations. I would be happy to reopen these discussions if Microsoft is interested in selling these products to our community.”
Read More http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/02/why-the-army-doesnt-train-on-xboxes/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+wired%2Findex+%28Wired%3A+Index+3+%28Top+Stories+2%29%29#ixzz0f51f5j9G
Anyone can guess. It takes no effort to throw out lots of predictions and have some of them be correct. You are not and wiser or better for having your guesses be right. Even a blind man can hit the bullseye.