There has been an unavoidable interconnection for the past decade between gaming and United States military recruitment. Whether its the military’s “Stop playing games and live life like you’re in a game!” television commercials or the near-constant military presence at esports and gaming convention events, it’s almost like the armed forces see gaming culture as a proverbial puppy mill of recruits. That connection was recently being abused on the live stream service Twitch thanks to the controversial US Army gaming channel, leading to Twitch forcing the channel to cease a series of dubious fake giveaways meant to draw viewers to a recruitment website.
The report on Twitch’s change of policy comes via Kotaku in the wake of a scathing report by The Nation’s Jordan Uhl called “The US Military Is Using Online Gaming to Recruit Teens,” highlighting the military’s recent attempts to seep its tentacles into gaming spheres. The US Army’s gaming recruitment efforts gained attention in the past weeks after the military started a Discord server that led online denizens to try and get banned from the chat room as fast as possible by posting about military atrocities. This latest move on Twitch stems from a giveaway that was being highlighted on the Army’s channel a spammed link offering fabulous prizes such as an Xbox Elite Series 2 Controller. Clicking on the link would send the viewer to a US Army recruitment page “with no additional mention of a contest, odds, the total number of winners, or when a drawing will occur.” There’s no evidence that such a giveaway was even actually happening.
News of the scam led to an outcry against the US Army Twitch channel, as well as Twitch’s own policies from those in the streaming community. After all, the giveaway and its inability to provide statistics or hard evidence that a giveaway even existed were very much against the Twitch terms of service and use. Twitch finally made a move against the practice today. “Per our Terms of Service, promotions on Twitch must comply with all applicable laws,” a Twitch spokesperson told Kotaku. “This promotion did not comply with our Terms, and we have required them to remove it.”
This is yet another move by the US Army recruitment arm to wriggle its way into the lives of gamers, as it also has a Twitch Rivals esports brand channel, as well as a pretty constant place on the Twitch home page thanks to advertising efforts. It’s yet another case of how pervasive military recruitment can be in America while seemingly happening unchecked. For now, this downright dishonest giveaway has been stopped but it most likely won’t be long until the armed forces find another way to try and draw gamers into its recruitment den.