The military currently trains its soldiers using PCs, but they were interested in switching to the Xbox 360 for a number of reasons. Unfortunately, Microsoft was not too interested in helping them out.
According to Danger Room, Microsoft refused to sell consoles to Roger Smith, chief technology officer for PEO STRI, the Army command responsible for purchasing training equipment. Why wouldn't Microsoft sell them consoles? Well, according to Smith, 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.
* that a big military purchase would create a shortage of Xbox 360s.
* that if the Xbox became an Army training device, it would 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 mum 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.
When asked about this, a Microsoft rep claimed to have no knowledge of that conversation and suggested the Army uses the XNA Game Studio development tools. Sure, Microsoft. But they didn't say they were opposed to working with the Army.
But at this point, Smith doesn't seem so interested anymore, saying he'd "be happy to reopen these discussions if Microsoft is interested in selling these products to our community".
A weird situation all around. The soldiers just want Xboxes! Come on guys, let's work this out. [Danger Room]