Online video games are nothing new, but there is a growing group of men and women within the Air and Space forces participating.
Air Force Gaming launched last year and quickly grew to 15,000 members, with enlisted personnel enjoying game including Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, League of Legends and Rocket League. In addition to those games, new titles this season include Call of Duty: Warzone, Apex Legends and Super Smash Bros Ultimate.
While the inaugural season was only open to Air Force personnel with an active-duty email address, it is now open to the following:
- Retired Department of the Air Force veterans
- Department of the Air Force dependents and youth
- Wounded warriors
- Department of the Air Force Reserve and Guard
- Air Force Academy and Air Force ROTC cadets
- All Department of Defense civilian employees
Learn more and sign up at airforcegaming.com. Registration ends and league play begins on Sept. 1.
Air Force Gaming is the official gaming program for the Air and Space forces. It is housed under the Air Force Services Center, which is headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.
“One adage that I’ve always disliked is, ‘It’s not about who wins or loses, it’s about how you play the game.’ But, with Air Force Gaming, it’s 100% true. We’re all about bringing our armed forces together, building communities and enjoying some friendly but spirited competition along the way,” said Maj. Gen. Tom Wilcox, commander of Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.
“With more than 15,000 members in just nine months, this program has already taken off, but we’re just getting started. Season two includes numerous improvements, the potential for growing even larger by including different types of players, and so much more.”
More than 80% of airmen and guardians between 18 and 34 identify as gamers, according to airforcegaming.com.
The idea for the gaming community came from Capt. Oliver Parsons, who played video games with his wife between 2014 and 2018 while stationed at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, as a way to escape feelings of depression and anxiety during the long winters. Following a move to Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., Parsons participated in gaming events. After learning that the Air Force didn’t have an organized gamer community, he stared it.
Today, members play in community tournaments and compete in the Department of the Air Force Gaming League, an esports competition that identifies the top airmen and guardians throughout the world.
“Since our debut, we’ve competed in prestigious esports invitationals like the 2020 Call of Duty Endowment Bowl, where our Space Force team took first place against other global military branches,” a message on airforcegaming.com read. “We’re always looking for new ways to empower our community to practice and compete in public events to build resilience, teamwork, leadership and pride for our service branches.”