The British Army has launched a new Fortnite experience, ‘Operation: Belong,’ designed to immerse players in what appears to be a thinly veiled recruitment tool. The revelation came to light during a promotional event set to take place on January 24, where influencers and content creators will engage in a head-to-head battle on a custom map.
The Operation: Belong map encourages players to ‘conquer obstacles,’ ‘apply your training,’ and ‘work as one,’ emphasizing the tagline, ‘You belong here.’ However, this initiative has sparked criticism on social media, with some accusing the British Army of targeting children in their recruitment efforts.
It’s worth noting that the use of Fortnite as a promotional tool is not unprecedented, with various organizations tapping into the game’s vast user base for marketing purposes. Operation: Belong, however, raises concerns as it appears to be a deliberate attempt to expose young players to the experience of being a soldier in the British Army.
Despite a disclaimer indicating that the event is ‘age-gated to users 18+,’ skepticism remains, especially given the prevalence of younger audiences on platforms like Twitch, where the event will be streamed.
The British Army has become increasingly involved in the gaming and esports scene, participating in conventions nationwide and fielding an esports team across various titles. While some view this as a strategy to engage younger demographics, others see it as a genuine effort to educate and inform potential recruits in a manner that resonates with gamers.
However, controversy surrounds the fate of Operation: Belong, as Epic Games’ content guidelines explicitly state that ‘commercial content and sponsorships must not promote enrollment in the military.’ This raises questions about whether the custom map will gain approval or face rejection from the gaming giant.
The introduction of Operation: Belong by the British Army prompts discussions about the appropriateness and effectiveness of such initiatives, leaving the gaming community awaiting further developments. What are your thoughts about this? Is this move appropriate? Let us know in the comments section below.