What is the purpose of video games? What can be used with video game technology? These questions may not seem the most complex on the surface, however, the teams behind these games have to ask themselves these questions every time they make a software title or a piece of hardware. Recently, Microsoft decided to make a deal with the US Army concerning their item, the Hololens. Specifically, the Army wanted Microsoft to use it to make an “integrated Visual Augmented System” for them.
While on the surface this may not seem bad, this is actually a case of a video game product being used as a weapon of sorts. And when the employees of Microsoft found out about this, they were not happy, at all.
So much so that they posted an open letter to the CEO of the company protesting the use of Hololens in this way.
“We are alarmed that Microsoft is working to provide weapons technology to the US Military, helping one’s government “increase lethality” using tools we built. We did not sign up to develop weapons, and we demand a say in how our work is used.”
They went on to say:
“Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and organization on the planet to do more. But implicit in that statement, we believe it is also Microsoft’s mission to empower every person and organization on the planet to do good.”
It’s a real philosophical debate, what does it mean to do good, and what is the perfect “use” of technology like the Hololens? Now, before you go and think that this is a very small section of the Microsoft team saying this, it’s actually more than 50 people, which in this case is actually pretty huge. And reportedly, this movement is growing.
They demand that this deal with the Army gets canceled, and any other similar projects be stopped.