“Call of Duty: Black Ops 2” may achieve more than just becoming one of the biggest entertainment products of the year. The best-selling video game could help shape the real-world thinking of the U.S. military through its science fiction story of a Cold War playing out between the U.S. and China in 2025.
The game, whose sales reached $500 million in the first 24 hours, owes plenty of its inspiration to real military weapons and prototype technologies — lumbering battlefield robots, microwave weapons, swarms of flying drones — as well as to today’s news headlines regarding cybersecurity threats and the rise of China. But a defense expert who helped create the story for “Call of Duty: Black Ops 2” also points out how his game-consulting work has influenced his day-job thinking about geopolitical issues and technologies that someday could have an impact on the U.S. military.
“It’s a weird way to say this, but the experience of working on the fictional game was definitely an aid to my non-fictional work,” said Peter Singer, director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative at the Brookings Institution.
When games shape reality