What can Defence Training & Simulation learn from gaming? (Part 1)

By Benn Pickering

In an era where video games have captured the imagination of billions and become a thriving industry of their own, it’s worth exploring what lessons the defence industry can learn from this virtual realm. From feedback loops that enhance enjoyment to scoreboards that foster competitive mindsets, gaming has harnessed various strategies to captivate and engage players. But the connections between gaming and defence go beyond mere entertainment. 

In Part 1 of this blog series we’ll dive into a range of fascinating aspects such as psychological and motivational elements of gaming and the importance of keeping up with the younger generation who were raised with a virtually unlimited library of games.

Feedback loops

The gaming industry has successfully harnessed the power of feedback loops to create immersive experiences that keep players engaged and motivated to improve. These feedback loops are meticulously designed mechanisms that provide players with continuous motivation and a sense of progress. Whether it’s through levelling up, unlocking new abilities, or earning virtual rewards, feedback loops ensure that players constantly feel a sense of accomplishment. By offering immediate and tangible feedback for their actions, games tap into our innate desire for achievement and effectively maintain our engagement.

Now, it’s important to note that the defence industry doesn’t need to adopt loot box mechanics or introduce rare virtual cosmetic costumes to soldiers in their training simulators. However, incorporating certain elements such as points and leaderboards can encourage users to strive for improvement and establish a baseline for their abilities compared to their allies.

The Call of Duty series provides an excellent example of how investing time and resources into understanding psychology has helped them retain one of the largest gaming player bases since 2003. One simple yet effective system they introduced was the “player card.” Throughout the game, players could unlock badges and banners by completing challenges, displaying their accomplishments on a profile visible to everyone.

By incorporating similar feedback mechanisms into defence training and simulation, the industry can tap into the psychological aspects that drive motivation and engagement. Whether it’s through recognizing achievements, tracking progress, or fostering healthy competition among trainees, the integration of carefully designed feedback loops can contribute to a more effective and immersive training experience.

Adapting to the Younger Generation’s Natural Interests

The younger generation, who grew up immersed in the world of video games, brings with them a unique set of skills, interests, and preferences. They are accustomed to interactive and dynamic experiences, quick feedback, and constant stimulation. The defence industry can benefit greatly by adapting its training and simulation approaches to cater to these needs and interests.

By incorporating interactive and dynamic elements into defence training and simulation, the industry can capture the attention and engagement of the younger generation. This adaptation can help overcome potential challenges such as shorter attention spans and a desire for fast-paced, interactive experiences. By aligning training programs with their natural interests, the industry can enhance learning outcomes and better prepare the next generation of defence professionals.

Furthermore, leveraging emerging technologies like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) can provide the younger generation with the immersive and interactive experiences they are accustomed to. By creating realistic and engaging training environments that mimic the gaming experiences they enjoy, the defence industry can capture their interest and enthusiasm, ultimately resulting in more effective training outcomes.

It’s crucial for the defence industry to recognise and adapt to the evolving expectations of the younger generation. By leveraging their familiarity with video games and their preferences for interactive and engaging experiences, the industry can create training and simulation programmes that effectively engage and prepare them for the challenges they will face in the defence sector. Embracing these adaptations ensures that the industry remains relevant, attracts the best talent, and maximises the potential of the younger generation’s skills and abilities.

Interested in finding out more about the role of gaming in the development of military simulations? Keep reading here.