MS refused to sell Xbox 360s to US Army

Written by Joe Martin

February 10, 2010 | 12:07

Tags: #army #forces #military #wired #xbox-360

Companies: #microsoft

The US Army's chief technology officer, Roger Smith, has today claimed that the US military approached Microsoft not long ago about buying Xbox 360s to use as training tools for soldiers - but that MS refused to sell consoles to the armed forces for that purpose.

Speaking to Wired, Smith said that Microsoft didn't want to sell consoles to the military because it was afraid of damaging it's reputation by being so closely associated with actual violence. Microsoft didn't want parents avoiding the console because they saw a real-life parallel of the virtual violence.

According to Smith's comment Microsoft was also concerned about sabotaging the product as a whole, as selling Xbox 360s in bulk to the military would create a hardware shortage that wouldn't be aided by the fact that the army would only want one game per console.

Microsoft isn't alone in the matter though and Smith mentions that the military tried to source consoles from Nintendo and Sony for training purposes too, but licensing and certification issues slowed talks to a standstill.

"Neither Microsoft, Nintendo nor Sony could deliver a coherent answer. The responses were not unfriendly or unhelpful so much as uncomprehending," said Smith.

"Our initial enthusiasm when Xbox and XNA were new products has cooled," said Smith. "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."

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