The US Space Force has won a transatlantic video game tournament against teams from other branches of the American and British armed forces.
The American team defeated the Royal Air Force in the final of the Call Of Duty: Black Ops Cold War tournament, while the British Army and Royal Navy had been eliminated in previous rounds – coming third and fifth in the overall competition.
The tournament, which took place on Friday, was created by the Call Of Duty Endowment charity and funded by the games developer Activision Blizzard to help unemployed veterans find quality careers.
Speaking to the Forces News website, Major Tim Elliott – officer-in-command of army esports – said Activision had invited British military teams to participate months ago.
Maj Elliott said that Activision had separately asked the British Army, RAG and Royal Navy whether they “would like to put a team in for a charitable event where we would take on the American military”.
“All of us got together and decided yes, we would give it a go,” he added, noting it was the first “major tournament” for army esports and that the team had been “very excited”.
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The British Army launched it first esports event earlier this year with an inter-corps match between the Royal Engineers and the Royal Signals, where the Royal Signals came out as winners.
At the time Maj Elliott said: “The army has realised it needs gamers, they have mental determination and agility, excellent problem solving skills.”
Perhaps explaining Friday’s defeat, Maj Elliott told Forces News that the US had a decade of competing in esports tournaments.
“They’re actually structured and they’re actually financed, and they have soldiers who do this for a living. We, on the other hand, all three services only started forming this, sort of, this year,” he said.
The US Army has esports outreach teams which are part of its Marketing and Engagement Brigade.
The teams are not recruiters, but “aim to help young people see soldiers in a different light” and “address the growing disconnect with society”, according the US Army.
Maj Elliott said esports were done “very much for the purpose of community” with the British Army.
“It’s a welfare structure for the army, it’s open 24-7 and soldiers, when they’re off duty, they can call in, play a game with their mates and sort of communicate with them,” he told Forces News.
The Call Of Duty Endowment, which works in both the US and UK, says it has placed more than 57,000 veterans in jobs since 2009, and aims to get 100,000 veterans back to work by 2024.