Morale: China Fears Video Game Warriors

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July 3, 2007: The South Korean armed forces are forming teams of video game players, to compete with the professional and semi-pro teams that are now common in South Korea. The Japanese armed forces are doing the same thing, and China may feel compelled to do the same. Around the world, it's common for the armed forces to form sports teams. Some compete on a professional level, other just represent major military organizations, and play for military and civilian organizations. It's good for morale, and aids recruiting.

Video games, however, are much more popular in East Asia than they are in the West. Moreover, South Korea has the highest percentage of households with fast Internet connections, and Japan is not far behind. China has them both beat in terms of sheer numbers, with 56 million fast connections (and nearly three times as many Internet overall). This encourages the use of multiplayer video games. East Asians young men love to play online games with each other. For some, it's become a disease, leading to failure in school, or unemployment. The military players are obviously more disciplined, and the main reason for the military teams is to aid recruiting.

The Japanese and South Korean armed forces are very high tech, and they want the kind of guy who is at ease with complex electronic systems. They have noted, as have Westerners, that young men with video game experience have an easier time learning to use complex military gear. In the West, many troops join informal video game teams, and that may lead to some professionalism, along the lines of what's happening in East Asia.

 


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