The National Security Agency has begun targetting gamers with a very, very strange slogan.
When you think of things that appeal to gamers, tapping phones and gathering metadata might not be at the top of the list. In fact, on the list of things that are like games, the NSA probably doesn’t appear at all. Nevertheless, the NSA has started to target gamers for recruitment with a bizarre ad campaign featuring the slogan: “It’s like gaming. But NOT.”
At least half of the ad is correct since NSA work is certainly not gaming. It’s not like gaming either, but apparently, the NSA has decided that it wants to convince gamers that it is. It’s possible that the NSA believes that gamers are better with technology than most people, but considering how user-friendly most modern games are, gamers do not need an especially high level of technological literacy to enjoy most games.
Reddit user Italiangerman found the ad on his Xbox One dashboard and posted it in the Xbox One subreddit. Gamers responding to the post were unconvinced and many complained about the ad being on their dashboards.
The NSA is not the first government organization to target gamers for recruitment. The US Army has tried to recruit gamers in various ways, from creating a “realistic” first-person shooter called America’s Army, to forming an army esports team. The focus on gamers may be due to the fact that most are young, which makes them the perfect targets for recruiters.
Still, the NSA hardly has the same pop culture significance as the US Army, and there are a lot more video games about fighting wars overseas than spying on people domestically. There is no Call of Duty equivalent for the NSA, and it doesn’t seem like the government has plans to make a phone-tapping version of America’s Army for the agency. It doesn’t help that the last time “NSA” and “gamers” were found in the same sentence was 2013, when it was revealed that the agency sent uncover agents into games like World of Warcraft to spy on gamers.
Unless there are some gamers out there that actually believe the NSA will be like playing Watch Dogs, it seems that most Xbox One players won't fall prey to this propaganda.