Sept. 23 (UPI) — “Command Clash,” a six-part esports competition between 29 service members at multiple bases, begins this weekend, the U.S. Air Force announced Wednesday.
The weekly competition, involving the video game “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare,” will be live streamed on the Twitch channel. It is an effort by the Air Force to use gaming as an outreach and retention tool, and comes after an internal survey revealed the surprising popularity of gaming among Air Force personnel as a hobby.
The U.S. Army is similarly enthusiastic about gaming, using it as a recruitment and branding opportunity. The Army’s program, though, was stalled by online spammers commenting about war crimes, and an attempt by Congress to end the streaming efforts. A Navy program was similarly paused for review.
“This is the future,” said Richard Cooper, civilian spokesman for the event. “Gaming and esports are not going away anytime soon. The Air Force absolutely sees the potential of what this can be. While each [service] branch has its own objectives, we decided to focus our program on entertaining our Airmen and providing a place for them to connect. This is not a recruitment tool for us.”
The Air Force partnered with Viper Gaming, Atomic Infotech, Convoke and Athletes Brand TV for the “Command Clash” series. Competitors from Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.; Davis-Monthan AirForce Base, Ariz.; Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, and Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.
Previously, the Air Force sent a team of personnel to compete in the 2020 Evolution Championship Series of gaming, held in Las Vegas in July.