Esports continues to challenge the perception of gamers as sedentary misfits who lack involvement in real-world life. In fact, its newest foray doesn’t just take them outside their comfort zone, it leaves it several zip codes behind. Gamers are headed for military boot camp in a radical new partnership. And after that, soldiers get to see if they have what it takes to be gamers.
You can thank Complexity Gaming for this brainstorm. Earlier this month, Complexity announced a partnership with the U.S. Army, according to a press release circulated by Complexity. By working with the Army Installation Management Command’s Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) program, Complexity is seeking to integrate esports into its Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers (BOSS) program.
The program kicked off at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, on June 13, when Complexity gamers spent three days living and training like U.S. Army soldiers. During an intensive boot camp, players participated in military-style drills alongside active-duty service members.
In addition to the physically demanding aspects, boot camp is a time for soldiers to learn discipline and resilience, and to work together as a team rather than as competitive individuals.
Later in the month, according to the Esports Observer, participants switch roles. This week, “Complexity players and staff welcome U.S. Army personnel to the team’s new GameStop Performance Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas, for their own esports boot camp. Soldiers will utilize the facility’s Mind Gym, created in collaboration with Mamba Sports Academy and HyperX , and other features in the GameStop Performance Center.”
The soldiers’ in-game training will culminate in an esports tournament where the top 15 will compete for various awards and bragging rights live on Army Entertainment’s Twitch channel. Fans can also learn more about the soldiers and how they discovered gaming through custom content posted on Complexity’s social channels.
The program, spearheaded by Family and MWR’s Army Entertainment, is supported by the Army’s retail partner, The Exchange, and corporate partner, MSI.
The partnership emphasizes U.S. Army soldiers’ and Complexity Gaming players’ shared love of competition, passion for gaming, culture of teamwork, and camaraderie. The inaugural program is designed to stimulate soldier curiosity and interest in esports while also providing an outlet for soldiers to recharge in a fun environment.
In the future, Complexity expects to continue to partner with the Army to develop esports programs to help reduce soldiers’ stress and depression and improve self-esteem and personal growth.