Wired reports that the U.S. Army was interested in purchasing a bunch of Xbox 360s to aid in training, but it was turned down flat by Microsoft.
Wired’s Michael Peck writes:
Roger Smith, chief technology officer for PEO STRI, the Army command responsible for purchasing training equipment, claims that Microsoft refused to sell him the consoles. Smith told me that he discussed acquiring the Xbox with Microsoft representatives at a trade show back in 2006. According to Smith, the Microsoft executives said they would neither sell the Xbox 360 nor license XNA game development tools to the Army for three reasons:
* Microsoft was afraid that the military would buy up lots of Xbox 360s, but would buy only one game for each of them, so MS wouldn’t make much money off of the games.
* A big military purchase could create a shortage of Xbox 360s.
* If the Xbox became an Army training device, it could taint its reputation. Microsoft was concerned that “do we want the Xbox 360 to be seen as having the flavor of a weapon? Do we want Mom and Dad knowing that their kid is buying the same game console as the military trains the SEALs and Rangers on?” Smith told me during an interview for Training & Simulation Journal.
Since the 360’s sales have been sluggish, maybe Microsoft would like a mulligan on turning down the military.