Microsoft and the US Army Sniper School have teamed up for a forthcoming Halo 3 tournament, and players will get a chance to participate in some US Army based pre-match training sessions. The special training videos provided by the army are to include sniper school training, heavy weapons training and vehicles training. Although the tournament itself doesn't start until April, if you sign up for the 'Microsoft Play and Win' tournament now you get access to the US Army training videos from the 19th January.

You do have to play a Halo 3 multi player match online in order to get an entry into the tournament sweepstakes, but you can do this every day apparently. It might be one for hardcore Halo 3 gamers only though as of the thousands of prizes on offer, the main one is not exactly full of bling but rather a framed piece of limited edition Halo 3 artwork instead.

The whole thing does have a kind of science fiction in reverse feeling to it though. Instead of the army using immersive 3D computer games to train for war, sponsored by Microsoft and ending up with some Terminatoresque SkyNet scenario, we have the US Army offering Basic Combat Training Exercises to members of the public playing immersive 3D computer games on a Microsoft console.

It seems to be something of a win-win for all concerned: Halo 3 players get some real world military tactics training to better their gameplay, Microsoft get some added value to entice players into the tournament (not that it needs it given the popularity of Halo 3 right now) while the US Army gets positive exposure to impressionable youngsters.

Interesting idea and very good marketing move from Microsoft ( one of few ;) ).
As a gamer I would like to partisipate in such project, nevertheless I will not buy Hallo 3 just because of this