Soldiers attending the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers (BOSS) 2019 Symposium in Indianapolis had the unique opportunity to put their gaming skills to the test against esports professionals from Complexity gaming, a professional esports organization.
This was the third event as part of a partnership between the Exchange, U.S. Army Installation Management Command (IMCOM) Family & MWR Programs and Complexity Gaming, which are bringing esports tournaments to installations around the world. MSI was a presenting sponsor of the Army Entertainment esports event.
Prior events had Complexity professionals spend a day in the life of a Soldier at Fort Bliss, learning about artillery, donning full war gear and eating meals ready to eat.
Two weeks later, 15 Soldiers from all over the world visited Complexity Gaming headquarters at the GameStop Performance Center in Frisco, Texas to experience the life of a professional esports gamer.
“The esports phenomena is not just a phase and the Army realizes that,” said Joe Leavell, Chief, Garrison Programs for IMCOM. “They are embracing something that will increase the value of the Soldier and contribute to their resiliency and relevance. Partnering with the Exchange gives us the ability to cross-market with them. The Exchange motto is ‘we go where you go’ and now we’re going with them.”
BOSS Soldiers at the symposium enjoyed competing with and learning from the professionals.
“It’s awesome playing with these gamers,” said Staff Sgt. Derrick Collins. “I see myself getting better. They gave me a lot of pointers, tips and strategies. And this is good for the Army as a whole. It’s not just all running and gunning on the battlefield anymore. It’s getting much more technical as we have people operating drones and running the war from much farther away than the frontlines.
“The skills learned from gaming provide a much safer way of fighting a war.”
The social aspect and mental well-being of Soldiers who participate in gaming through the Army cannot be underestimated as well.
“Participating in Army esports will get the young guys out of the barracks,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Muriel Macdonald. “If we have gaming in our garrisons and in our rec centers it will give these Soldiers an opportunity to get out and meet people. It’s good for their overall mental well-being.”
For the Exchange, partnering on esports is an opportunity to continue its mission of supporting Warfighters.
“The Exchange is all in to help support readiness and resiliency,” said Col. Collin Fortier, the Exchange’s military community liaison. “Events such as these help Soldiers both mentally and socially and strengthen retention and recruitment.”