Matrix Games Spearhead the Next Generation of Military Wargaming18 Oct 2016 0
The future of 'Military Wargaming' is being decided, and your favourite wargames company is right at the heart of the matter. Matrix Games, along with developer partner Warfare Sims, were invited to brief elements of the US Military at the Pentagon on how their games could help model future potential conflicts.
In February 2015, the US Deputy Secretary of Defence Robert Work issued a directive to devote more resources to the exploration of wargaming. The view at the time was that their ability to wargame had “atrophied”. Consequently there is now a great deal of focus on modelling and simulations in the Battle Space Environment; naturally, videogames are a prime candidate for helping this process.
So while you've been busy playing Panzer Corps, complaining about the Field of Glory update or trying hard not to get too excited about the Wars of Succession & Strategic Command, Matrix Games have been secretly visiting various elements of the US Military to show off their hardcore simulation titles like CMANO.
The games company has made several trips to the US to show off COMMAND PE/CMANO and the feedback has been very encouraging. Matrix Games were invited to visit Wright Patterson Air Force Base before moving onto the Pentagon itself to demonstrate their games to the top brass.
CEO JD McNeil and Director Iain McNeil were joined by Dimitris Dranidis from WarfareSim and together they briefed Air and Navy heads on how it could be used to help in their wargaming efforts. As a result, the Air Mobility Command have now adopted COMMAND as one of their simulation tools, while the Naval War College & various other national military academies have also adopted COMMAND PE as a simulation/wargames training platform.
Matrix Games has also been quite active in the private defence sector as well, with several companies including BAE system using COMMAND to prototype new systems. They've also attended various B2B events including ITSEC and Connections and have significantly broadened their contacts within the US and European militaries including NATO and other organisations.
But what does this mean for you guys, those gamers who are generally not trying to wage real wars? I managed to para drop into JD's office while he was eating lunch and ask him a few questions before getting whisked away:
Question: How will these new contracts affect the 'game' side of the business? Will players even get access to some of the tools you'll be developing?
JD: The Contacts we now have with the professional military bodes well for all of our games and development teams. Where possible we will incorporate certain elements into our games, but as I am sure you will understand some of the concepts we are working with come with restrictions.
Question: If this becomes hugely profitable, will you devote less time to making games? Niche videogame markets are tough after all.
JD: We have no plans to reduce or diminish our normal business – in fact it is this normal business which generates the games that the military are interested in. A quick look at our release schedule is testimony to this, with 2017 promising to see the release of some of our biggest titles to date that we know will be popular.
Question: Harpoon has been mentioned as another game defence entities are interested in. What is another title (aside from CMANO) that you think would make a good tool for a military body?
JD: We have several new projects in development and others that are already being tested by the military, but I am not going to discuss these now. The new version of Close Combat which was originally used by the USMC also figures highly in our plans.