Interesting interview over at Guardian Gamesblog with Malcom Davis, a lecturer in Defense Studies with the Defense Studies Department of King's College London on how well military video games compare to the real thing.
Which weapons from current warfare don't seem to be used in videogames in your opinion? Why do you think that is?
I think one type of warfare missing from computer games, which may be used in the future is the weapons of mass destruction or effect (WMD/E) including chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and enhanced-explosive (aka CBRNE). These are proliferating at an accelerating rate, and there is greater risk that rogue states - such as Iran or North Korea - with access to such capabilities would use them in future wars to offset the technological superiority of Western military forces, or potentially transfer such capabilities to non-state actors like terrorist groups. In every sim I have tried (be it on PC or XBox 360) I have yet to see this type of warfare represented, or seen friendly forces having to take precautions against its use.
Interesting that these weapons haven't entered gaming, although there are of course nukes in Civilization and probably a few RTS games. Wonder if its because it would be too much of a "wild card" to the gameplay? Cuts into the notion of heroics?
Also interesting is his take on cyberwarfare:
In the lead-up to the 1999 Kosovo Conflict, and the 2003 Iraq War, Western military information systems came under intense cyber-attacks from hackers either within the Serb and Iraqi militaries, or contracted by their respective governments. The Chinese and the Taiwanese regularly engage in cyberwarfare exchanges across the Taiwanese Strait. China has 'People's Information Warfare Battalions' whose sole job it is to wage cyberwar against China's opponents. Cyberwar is going to be a key aspect of future conflicts as we are information-dependent and an enemy, which may not be so information dependent, can use cyberwar to launch strategic attacks on this opponent's military and society.
Now that would be an interesting game, although it wouldn't really allow for the macho cinematics of most military titles.