Wired via the Consumerist:

Roger Smith, chief technology officer for PEO STRI, the Army command responsible for purchasing training equipment, claims that Microsoft refused to sell him the consoles. Smith told me that he discussed acquiring the Xbox with Microsoft representatives at a trade show back in 2006. According to Smith, the Microsoft executives said they would neither sell the Xbox 360 nor license XNA game development tools to the Army for 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.

* A big military purchase could create a shortage of Xbox 360s.

* If the Xbox became an Army training device, it could 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 Mom 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.

  1. Olo Baggins of Bywater says:

    Point 1: You created the pricing model, sucks to be you

    Point 2: Add some lead time

    Point 3: Bullshit, that’s a marketing win.

  2. Shenzhov says:

    This just sounds like bull.

    Everyone knows the problems that the Xbox 360 has had.
    These machines would certainly get a lot of use with the military and Microsoft does not want the cost and bad publicity of having these machines fail over and over again.

  3. ChuckM says:

    I don’t get the comments… this was in 2006, when it launched. Of course the 360 would be a great platform for the army to use, but I agree with Microsoft. If they can’t make money off it, then it’s not worth the troubles. They were launching and the shortage was an issue at the time… the game machine is to sell games… not platform for a single game. Not money to be made. I also agree, that the army is not a good marketing partner. Sounds like they made the right decision.

  4. Ron Larson says:

    Considering the quality problems MS has had with the XBox 360’s, the military should be glad that it dodged that bullet.

    Having the military as a customer is a pain in the ass. There are tons of rules, and some rather mean terms. For example, no matter how much they buy from you, they get the price you give to your best customers. I don’t blame them for telling the DoD to take their business and shove it.

  5. Holdfast says:

    1. The pricing of things is their own fault so stop overcharging for the games to subsidise the console!

    2. Make more. That’s what capitalism is for.

    3. Fair point. It would seriously harm international sales.

  6. Cephus says:

    The problem is, they don’t want to make more, Microsoft loses money on every console they make. They count on people buying lots of overpriced games to make up the loss and give them an overall profit. Only the Wii doesn’t have that problem, Nintendo makes a profit on each Wii sold so they could easily make a deal with the military, sell them a million Wiis and be doing just fine.

    Let’s be honest, there hasn’t been a shortage of 360s since launch. I’m sure M$ could easily make as many as the military needed, it’s all a bunch of PR hooey.

  7. GregA says:

    So… Now that we have hit that part of the console cycle where even cheap entry level computers have better games than the consoles sales are tapering off. So as the sales peter down to nothing over the next three years or so the ABM crowd can claim victory for having destroyed microsoft and limiting them to only selling 2x as many consoles this generation as they did last….

    Yay fosstardia won!…. Um I guess…

  8. MrWindows says:

    Sounds like someone else at Microsoft needs to be fired for making a bonehead call.

  9. whaap says:

    Whoa! The Bullshit Detector just pegged out so hard the needle bent!

  10. Buzz says:

    You don’t become the richest man in the universe by doing the right thing.

  11. MrMiGu says:

    The army will be interested in buying Wii’s once they perfect the gun that kills enemies when shaken properly. Until they make games which can be played cooperatively and can be used to teach military theory the wii is useless to them.

    A majority of computer games are made for MICROSOFT windows. For them its a win either way.

    If microsoft really thinks that partnering with the army would taint their reputation and give them the flavour of a weapon, perhaps they should stop releasing FPS. Until then, I would think that having the military using your product they way you intend for it to be used would be a selling point.

  12. Guyver says:

    Big whoop. The Air Force is buying up PS3s just to get the Cell processor for cheap.

  13. RTaylor says:

    Who’s the guy in the chefs jacket?

  14. Uncle Patso says:

    If this happened at the XBox launch, I’m sure the military has been able to get all the XBoxes they want since then.

    Something about this story smells wrong…

  15. Mr. Glum says:

    Couldn’t they go to BestBuy (ick)?

  16. FirstTimeCaller says:

    #13 That would be the soup Nazi.


  17. denacron says:


    Its the ‘Soup Nazi’ – http://tinyurl.com/2j96m2

  18. amodedoma says:

    Damn, when I was in the Navy, the whole aircraft carrier (5000+ guys) had but one videogame, the original Dig-Dug arcade machine (30 years ago!). The DP techs, had a working PacMan for the Wang mini computer, but that was only available to us DP’s. For the most part we had to pay for our own entertainments, I guess now that they have women everywhere in the armed forces, they need to really keep everyone distracted. Considering their answers to the request for Xbox, their reaction sounds down right unpatriotic. Afterall M$ owes most of their success to the government that gives judicial support to their monopoly.

  19. Nobody says:

    Finland’s army uses the Wii for fightness training.

  20. KMFIX says:

    Wow that chick is hot!

  21. Zybch says:

    #6 The 360 console has been making a (small) profit for several years now.
    I don’t find the games too overpriced, especially if you hold off for a month or so for new releases, and especially compared to the very definitely overpriced PS3 titles.
    As for reliability, I can only speak for myself but my 2 consoles have both worked fine since purchase. However, for overseas engagements the consoles would be exposed to extreme conditions that would kill just about any console in a matter of days. They’d be moved about, used in very hot environs, and treated like crap by servicemen.
    I wouldn’t want to be responsible for keeping them alive under those circumstances.

    So although it sounds pretty dickish, I think MS made the right call. Besides, it was a call made back in 2006 when they WERE making a large loss per console and were yet to deal with the hundreds of millions in losses when some consoles started overheating. In hindsight it was ABSOLUTELY the right call to make.

  22. Universal says:

    its too late i have see drones controlled with 360 controllers

  23. Canucklehead says:

    #19 KMFIX, mmmm boobies

  24. E@$+ C0@$+ says:

    I wonder game they want to buy? any ideas?

  25. USA says:

    “fMRI-scanned monkeys they had trained to play so-called ‘inspection games’ against computers.”
    We are beyond the planning, development and intelligence gathering phase. We are in the operations phase. No Microsoft and lots of monkeysoft. They work cheap, for a few bananas a day, you get solid results. With Microsoft you get crap. Soldier on and game on. When war stops being fun, terrorists have the edge. The size of the oil barrels don’t change, but the value of money keeps decreasing. I’m projecting oil at $22.00/barrel. These pricks start a jet fuel fire at the Pentagon and now we need more jet fuel to kill them off and we aren’t paying blackmail rates. Watch the Iranian monkeys go bust as they try going nuclear. Send them xboxes to build a command and control system and they can play with themselves. Soccer moms get minivan gas in USA for $1.79 a gallon, so ain’t that a kick in the head? It is politically feasible, especially if you are raisin kids on a military pay grade. I’m not paying for the same real estate twice.

  26. amodedoma says:

    #23 That’s obvious, Call of Duty – Modern Warfare 2!

  27. GRtak says:

    THat is so lame, why would MS want to expose several hundred or thousand customers to a product? They may not get a ton of sales directly from the Army, but the guys that use it in training and bought their own would have made up for the lack of sales to the Army.


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