America's Army bill: $32.8 million

Government tallies total budget for free-to-play first-person shooter and military recruitment tool's first decade of development.

The America's Army series of free-to-play PC first-person shooters that double as recruitment tools has cost the US government $32.8 million over 10 years, according to data obtained through a GameSpot Freedom of Information Act request.

The government's annual America's Army budget has ranged from $1.3 million to $5.6 million.

The US Army first revealed America's Army in 2002, although expenditures on the project began in 2000. At the time, it was touted as a five-year project with a budget of $7 million.

The PC game received a number of updates and expansion packs before a true sequel, America's Army 3, was launched earlier this year. It has also spawned a pair of Ubisoft-published console spin-offs, America's Army: Rise of a Soldier for the PlayStation 2 and original Xbox, and last year's Xbox 360 game America's Army: True Soldiers.

While operating America's Army 3 does involve ongoing expenses, paying the game's original development team isn't one of them. Days after the game launched in June, representatives with the Army confirmed that ties were severed with the Emeryville, California-based team behind the project, and future development efforts were being consolidated at the America's Army program office at Redstone Arsenal in Alabama.

A decade after its initial foray into the world of gaming, the Army doesn't appear to be withdrawing from the industry anytime soon. In denying other aspects of the FOIA request, the Army stated "disclosure of this information is likely to cause substantial harm to the Department of the Army's competitive position in the gaming industry."

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

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Discussion

125 comments
shachar2
shachar2

There's a reason there's no review for this game, the army asked not to because the game isn't ready. When aa3 was released it was in alpha state, some of the bugs might have been fixed so it might be in beta state but not ready for prime time. And I won't even say everything I have to say but let's just say that the game is a disappointment

HeadrockBeats
HeadrockBeats

@ BigC18: I'm not insulting the people who do the job, I'm insulting the organization's behavior, which I guess would be an insult to the people at the top making these terrible decisions. As explained in the article and repeated by me - they screwed over the developers who made the game for them, and proceeded to create their own unit to develop future games - that's dickish behavior at best. And yeah, I'm deeply bothered when a government agency, of any nation, is putting a stake into an industry I care so much about, and a dickish first move isn't going to shore up my confidence, is it. Not to mention the fact that a military organization dealing in civilian business is a point of serious concern for everyone, again, regardless of which military organization it is.

luckjon
luckjon

Too realistic, in that I gave up trying to past boot camp. If this war game was fun, I would join up expecting bang bang instead of thinking the Army was a bunch of thick heads with too much rules. What they do need is a fun media vehicle, the Navy had Top Gun, and the Army has...

wonzan
wonzan

Wow, the US government sure does love wasting money on anything related to war doesn't it?

SemperFi10
SemperFi10

Governments never get anything right. What's new?

FBIoh3
FBIoh3

well, imagine if there was a game called France's Army. about 15 minutes of playing, then you surrender.....lol

Vuud
Vuud

Pennies in the couch compared to 106 trillion in unfunded liabilities.

Rickiej
Rickiej

The Arma and Operation Flashpoint games are way better than this, so its wasted money.

Bashers79
Bashers79

@redskinStu you forgot to mention about keeping the petrol pumps flowing. Lets be honest about the real reason we're over there.

Bashers79
Bashers79

32.8 mill is a drop in the ocean for the US army I imagine.

tbs76
tbs76

Money well wasted...I hated those games. Might be more realistic than the other shooters but also far more boring. Needs better pacing, tighter controls and updated graphics.

broncosfan
broncosfan

Just a fraction of the overall recruiting budget of the Army (The US Army spends billions of dollars a year just in their recruiting budget). Personally, I think viral things such as this are much more effective in terms of cost versus gain than standard TV and Radio advertising.

buft
buft

how much would they spend for the same amount of advertising time on tv? well worth the investment

Aquilam
Aquilam

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Viper-Inc
Viper-Inc

AA3 failed hardcore... they had unrealistic ETA's and the devs were pushed beyond belief. not to mention they layed devs off during the whole time without hiring more.. as to cut costs but never pushed the ETA back. then whinged the game was as buggy as it was and that it wasn't finished on time.. so let's sack the whole team and get a new team in who have to pick it up from scratch n work out whats happening... seriously.. GG... AA3 coulda been huge... if they had of pushed the release date back and finished it properly.. I for one would of rathered wait for the final release... I now will never play the game again..

downloadthefile
downloadthefile

Complaining about $32.8 million in a national deficit of over $12 trillion is like Bill Gates complaining that I never paid him back a quarter he once lent me. Besides, this is simply part of their recruitment budget. Obviously the analysts in the military believe this video game can get people into the army, so I don't have a problem with it.

XSniperX21324
XSniperX21324

if you guys are worried about this, look at our nat'l debt, its 12 trillion. Spending for things like this is considered "normal," you should be more concerned where all the other tax money is going to. And the cost of the War pales in comparison to other things, if we cut DOD spending and completely stopped the war, it wouldn't even make a scratch on the debt. Though it would be a start. I do agree that the military should use its money on different things, such as better equipment for soldiers, but thats me. 32,800,000 12,000,000,000,000

HOMIE_G64
HOMIE_G64

So that is where my tax dollars are going...

Triton
Triton

I like to think every tax dollar I have given over the last 40 years has went into this game. Makes me feel better about life. ps, any of you kids recall 9/11. Your either with us or against us, everyone seemed to agree. - Must been doing something right, no attacks since then on our great nation. It's just a shame some folks over seas won't stand up and take control / responsibility of their country(s) and feel some national pride...

PotHeel
PotHeel

The death toll of Iraqi civilians is well over 170,000. 40,000 isn't even close. That isn't even counting military casualties.

DFen
DFen

yea its a tactical kind of shooter but, I dont think some ppl would enjoy multiplayer if new comers are just camping in most matches lol, which is why I think killzone 2 is one of the best shooters out there cant really camp too long in that game unless ur a sniper lol like cod but then again killzone 2 is more of a straight up running and gunning kind of shooter more fun at least.......

RevolverAce
RevolverAce

@Barghm You dont really think Modern Warfare 2 is a realistic game? im not saying AA3 is, but MW2 is just a action movie that you are playing.

Barighm
Barighm

Er...wouldn't it have been a lot cheaper to just place an Army recruitment ad in Modern Warfare 2 since, you know, it's a damn good game that seems pretty darn close to realistic and people are actually playing it... Maybe there is an ad in there and I missed it, but the point is...let the real game developers do the work, and maybe the government can give them a tax break or something if they include an Army recruitment ad.

okassar
okassar

Chill people, that doesn't cost much, I think it's a good effort on the part of the Army. ya redskintu, let's invade Mexico because they have drugs...NOT, wow... and about Iraq....umm, 1.1 TRILLION dollars spent on the Iraq War, wanna know the Iraqi civilian death toll since? and this is a conservative estimate:40000. Before we came in as the "tough guys" seeking "weeepons of maaass destrurrrcsion" Saddam was actually doing bad things, but the death toll was nowhere near even 2000, what we should have actually done and yes I'm blaming it on Bush: We should have diplomatically and economically pressured Saddam out, AND if he didn't comply we root him out and get the HELL out in 1 year after a reelection. We pretty much screwed over their government, chose the candidates for them so now they have a president that doesn't even care about his people and kisses America's #$%, and provoked hell that lead to 40000 civilian deaths, some of which were even killed by Americans. I say support the troops, it's not their fault at all, I love them for putting their lives on the line to protect this nation, but when we know a war is not in the direct interest of protecting our nation, then there's something wrong. It's good Obama's pulling out. What a useless war, coulda turned into Nam if we left it like this.

redskinStu
redskinStu

Stopping the flow of illegal DRUGS from Afghanistan and stopping the flow of terrorism from Pakistan, ahem, I mean Iraq, are both VERY justifiable, whether you personally agree with them or not.

EtherTwilight
EtherTwilight

Maybe if there were a justified conflict America were involved in, they wouldn't have a recruiting problem.

Dark_SoulWraith
Dark_SoulWraith

Hrm, apparently my last post was deleted due to trolling. Odd, because the actual trolls are still on this board. Personally, I find it rather ironic the military fired the original development team to work on the game internally. I have no issues with our military, but last I checked game development was not a priority. I say pay a qualified studio to maintain the game, refine and clean up the problems, and maybe then it could function better as a "recruitment tool", and likely cut down on cost once things are running well and maintained rather than pay more money to government tech officials who have never made a single game in their collective lives and require more time and effort to keep the game running. Us taxpayers may appreciate that.

qlcoffeecup
qlcoffeecup

How much does it cost the military to advertise on MNF? This is a pointless conversation. You either agree with a publicly-funded recruiting budget, or you don't. How much the game cost is irrelevant.

Dark_SoulWraith
Dark_SoulWraith

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

dukeraider2
dukeraider2

@Aquilam not fact, opinions... There has been not finance over-site committee hearing that even comes close to validating your statement as it standing the propose health care bill would give a cut what where spending now... like right now... If uninsured guy gets hit by car and get rushed to the hospital room you pay for it right now.. the proposed bill offer lower rates so this person can be insured thus you you would not pay for the hospital stay, transport, care, food energy and medicine. so what bill are you looking @ because the finance hearing see it differently than you and there the experts not you right?...what your sources must be FAUX NWES mine is cspan(an unfiltered news source) If you believe what is report vice watch the actually preceding then your be a fool 99% of the time as it stands a Harvard Study Finds Medical Bills Leading Cause of Bankruptcy that can be good for our nation right i qoute "Illness and medical bills caused half of the 1,458,000 personal bankruptcies in 2001, according to a study published by the journal Health Affairs. The study estimates that medical bankruptcies affect about 2 million Americans annually -- counting debtors and their dependents, including about 700,000 children." http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2005/bankruptcy_study.html In short the know facts not Opinions.

atopp399
atopp399

Anything with the governments name on it is so bloated in cost it is sickening.

dukeraider2
dukeraider2

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Mr_Alexander
Mr_Alexander

Meh, the total cost of the Iraq War to the U.S. economy has been $3 trillion... and for what?... , I think this is the least of their worries...

jadefury27
jadefury27

@ jakscreed and i have no problem with the army recruiting. I do however have a problem with them using videogames to do it. people already make the arguement that games desenseitize kids to violence, but to use one to recruit kids is even worse.

TheBionicRock
TheBionicRock

If this recruitment campaign went through any other medium people wouldn't be so freaked out screaming "OUR TAX MONEYZ!!!". Sadly video games have a stigma as mere toys as opposed to a viable platform for just about anything including recruitment. And really what better place to look for recruits then through games? After all the number of young Americans who play games will only rise so it only makes sense to look where they are spending there time. Would people rather the Army just give up trying to get new recruits so we're left crippled because our army is shrinking due to lack of interest? Face it, wherever the younger generation goes the army recruitment campaigns will follow.

goshdarnstud
goshdarnstud

Don't forget the Army spends probably more that that a year on Ryan Neuman's Sprint Cup Car, and Tony Schumacher's Top Fuel Car. (But both of them get crazy amounts of exposure). The Air Force sponsored the 43 car last year. And who knows how much the National Guard spent to get their name on Dale Jr.'s car. So 32 million over 10 years, doesn't seem like much.

Aquilam
Aquilam

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Black_Knight_00
Black_Knight_00

Hope they never make a "Italy's Army" game. I wouldn't want to fund that.

m1rock
m1rock

America's Army: Better use of tax payer money then many of the other schemes they squander it on. If I'm paying taxes Id rather get a game out of the deal then use it to prop up some overpaid government bureaucrat and get jack squat.

morgonstjarnan
morgonstjarnan

@dukeraider2 It's pretty sad that you equate the United States with Nazi Germany. It shows a frightening amount of ignorance. In the US, you can say what you like, bash the president, start a company, even decide not to serve in the army. In Nazi Germany, you did what the politicians said when they said it, and if you complained you were murdered. That's why western nations need armies: to keep psycho people like that from coming in and conquering naive people like you.

iliketurtles09
iliketurtles09

make love not war. but love wouldnt make a good game

dukeraider2
dukeraider2

well to be fair Aquilam your comment is not supported by fact. I would rather see our government spend money to help social needs rather than militaristic desires. history repeats it self but each time the evils of our past be come less subversive. this reminds me of the Hitler youth propaganda program that produced literature in order to improve the recruitment numbers amoung the youth. It was not right then and its not right now.... Never forget, Never again!

JaksCreed
JaksCreed

@jadefury27 This is to help get people to join the army. Without an army we wouldn't be around to fund anything.

alfaresalasmar
alfaresalasmar

"VIDEO GAMES WHAT BETTER WAY TO RAISE THE ULTIMATE SOLDIER"

otanikun
otanikun

Wow, that's alot of money for a game

PcGamingRig
PcGamingRig

I like the AA series and im playing AA3 now im in [XIII] Clan :D it has lots of bugs but it will get better like AA2 did.

Kycon90
Kycon90

Man, don't tell fox news about this.

Aquilam
Aquilam

okay lets be fair... for those of you who think those in congress who ok'd this should be voted out $33 million isnt near as much as the sheer amount of pork-barrel spending you would see in any bill (to include the health bill)