Sony on Friday announced that it would investigate claims by a former US military official that parts from its Playstation 2 video game console are being tested in military equipment for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.According to the official, who wished to remain anonymous, the US military has been purchasing hundreds of Playstation analog controllers and retrofitting them to Abrams tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles, and missile defense computers at the US commands headquarters in Baghdad.
Sonys main distributor in Europe, Centresoft, has been providing the military with the controllers, says Stewart Richmond, chief legal counsel for Sony Europe.
Throughout the late-nineties it was widely speculated that the US military used video games to train soldiers for combat. But advances in technology and gaming ability among younger soldiers led engineers to base the next generation of command/control hardware on the Playstation controller, according to the former military official.
This is troubling to Sony executives because there is wide speculation that the Playstation controllers were tested in a military exercise in Southern Iraq where 72 Iraqi soldiers and 300 civilians were killed. Fifteen US soldiers were killed from friendly fire.
While its nice that theyd [US Army] use our controllers to help fight the war on terror, says Sony spokesman Yoshikazu Ochiai, Were a little concerned about our products being used to harm people.
Lawyers for Sony also say the US military may be violating international law for not letting the company know its products are being used for military purposes.
During the Vietnam War, Mattel successfully sued the US Air Force for airdropping Vietcong Ken Dolls over North Vietnam in hopes of taunting the communists.
The soldiers today are so used to handling the Playstation controller, says one former military official, it makes perfect sense that theyd use it to control army tanks and shoot missiles.
According to military engineers, the Playstation controllers offer more pinpoint accuracy than their current set of controllers, which were mainly developed during the 1970s.
Source: Wired News