GameSpot Criticized for National Guard Promotion

Published: September 1, 2020 9:41 PM /


Americas Army Proving Grounds Key Image

We typically don't comment on the actions of other outlets out of professional courtesy, but this circumstance is different. For interest of informing consumers, we felt this should be covered. 

Earlier today, the gaming outlet GameSpot tweeted a promotion in conjunction with the Army National Guard. The tweet invited players to visit Gamespot for a video that would be hosted by a 'Staff Sargent Murray.'

"Join us as Staff Sargent Murray from the Army National Guard gives us his highlights from Gamescom 2020! (Presented by @NationalGuard)" read the tweet, which has since been deleted.

The tweet was followed up by the official Gamespot channel stating players can learn more about the Army National Guard by visiting the National Guard eSports website. 

Both tweets, which have since been deleted, were met with vicious backlash on social media, with many angry that GameSpot would help promote the National Guard and their eSports page. This is mostly from the recent troubles with the U.S. Army and other branches of the Armed forces online. Many have accused the U.S. Armed Forces for using platforms like Twitch to help with Army Recruitment, including being temporarily banned on Twitch after a controversy over a fake prize giveaway that instead lead to an Army Recruitment page, among other things.

For more on this subject, You can check out our own Anson Chan's Op-Ed on the U.S Army and the Twitch scandals here

The question regarding the Armed Forces and video games is actually a complicated one. The Armed Forces is integral to providing development and support for official titles like America's Army, but are also integral for consulting on developmental decisions on mega blockbuster games like Call of Duty.  

These consultations for AAA games are not without drawbacks, including direct control of the direction of products when working with The Armed Forces and the U.S State Department. Often nicknamed the 'military-entertainment complex', multimedia support from the Pentagon often has restrictions of what a title or product can or can't do or say in regards to the use of the Armed Forces in the United States. 

Because of the previous controversies on Twitch, along with the stigma of the military-entertainment complex, promotional work done on behalf of the Armed Forces - even the National Guard - is often considered taboo due to the presumption of army recruitment. The fact that a news outlet would be involved in such recruitment is doubly negative to many. 

GameSpot has yet to comment on the fiasco at this time. We have reached out to them for comment and will update this article when we learn more.


Have a tip, or want to point out something we missed? e-mail us at [email protected] or join us on Discord!