JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas --
Air Force Gaming made its official debut Nov. 11, under the Air Force Services Center with a global gaming and esports hub for the Air Force.
AFG is focused on supporting the Department of the Air Force’s resiliency and retention efforts through the creation of a global esports program that brings Airmen and Space Professionals together through community experiences and competitive leagues.
At launch, AFG consists of a new intramural esports program - Air Force Gaming League, a Discord community and top tier competitive "pop-up" opportunities for all Airmen and Space Professionals. AFGL is currently being piloted in AFGSC, but plans to cover every base in the Air Force beginning in 2021.
More than 80 percent of Airmen ages 18 to 35 identify as “gamers,” and play between four and 10 hours per week, said Col. Marc Adair, AFSC director of operations. This community creates a fun outlet for Airmen and Space Professionals stuck at home during this global pandemic.
“Air Force Gaming’s mission is to create an inclusive gaming organization for Airmen of all ages, ranks, and backgrounds,” said Adair. “We are confident that by establishing a unified hub for community and competition, Air Force Gaming can help promote resiliency, retention, teamwork, and mental well-being for service members around the world.”
The pilot season is set up with Air Force Global Strike Command as base locations within the command are in isolated areas where remote play may have its challenges. This will provide much needed feedback on how successful the program will be and if there any limitations to hinder the enterprise launch.
During the AFGL season, gamers from AFGSC will compete in Call of Duty: Black Ops - Cold War, League of Legends and Rocket League with more games planned for the global rollout.
AFSVC and AFG hosted the first ever “All-Air Force” and “All-Space Force” Call of Duty Esports Team Qualifiers Nov. 14. Over 600 Airmen and Space Professionals formed more than 200 teams to compete in the tournament. At the conclusion of the tournament the two teams SELECTED, will represent the Air Force and Space Force in Call of Duty: Black Ops-Cold War event at the U.S. Air Force Academy Dec. 11. More information on the event will be released at a later date.
Started a year ago as a grassroots effort by volunteer Airmen outside of their normal jobs, AFG was created with the focus on improving mental health by building community through video games. Within the first month of going live total force membership counts more than 10,000 servicemen and women on all community platforms.
Capt. Oliver Parsons, a force support officer who is credited as being the Air Force Gaming founder, implemented the program globally with the intention to harness gaming/esports to promote resiliency, comradery and competition for all Airmen and Space Professionals around the world. As momentum picked up for AFG, AFSVC decided to bring the program to an official capacity with the mission to properly deliver gaming and esports to the field for Airmen and Space Professionals by Airmen and Space Professionals.
“We are intentionally starting small with Air Force Gaming, but have big goals,” Parsons said. “By organizing this pilot season in AFGSC and our various pop-up events, we will ensure that all coordination is in place to scale the program globally and make Air Force Gaming a unifying community available to all Airmen and Space Professionals.”
AFSVC partnered with Rally Cry, a tech company specializing in developing esports infrastructures, to create a customized platform for the Air Force. The unified hub was able to get more than 4,800 Total Force Airmen and Space Professionals on the platform in less than two weeks of launch. Air Force Gaming will use their intramural esports league, community and competition to bring Airmen and Space Professionals together around the world.
Airmen and Space Professionals can visit airforcegaming.com to register and join the Discord community. For more information on the official gaming hub, visit AFG's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AirForceGaming.