The London Times is reporting that the GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) of Great Britain will begin recruiting through video games, most notably Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Double Agent. The GHCQ is the surveillance arm of the British Intelligence Service.

The adverts won’t be written into the games themselves but will appear when PC and XBOX 360 users play their game online. They’ll come in the form of billboards and other media fitted into the cityscapes during play.

According to some GHCQ officials, they believe it is time to use some “non-conventional” means of recruiting new talented individuals.

I’m not sure how to react on this one. On one hand, it shows that the Brits understand the “market” (if you will) of people they’re trying to draw from. Just about everyone aged 18-34 plays video games of some type. Combine that with the vast number of those who play first person shooters and spy games. To not tap into that market would be foolish.

You may remember a couple of years ago that the US Army put out a first person shooter that it created based on itself, for the purpose of recruiting soldiers to join up.

Still, some might think it’s sad that we have to resort to such lengths to find people willing to serve their country. Are the days of recruiters at our schools and the ROTC drilling on the football field things of the past?

I guess I’d have to conclude that it’s really just a sign of the times. Historically, governments have often gone to populist methods to encourage recruitment. Look at the war films of the late 30s and early 40s, stirring up patriotism. Heck, even the cartoons of that era were utilized by the US government to portray the Nazis and Japanese as evil.

The one difference here that has me concerned though is finding a recruit who’d sooner lay on the couch, eat potato chips and play Halo 3 than go out and catch real life bad guys. To the point, if you die in the real world, you don’t get to replay from your last save.

This is worth watching. More updates as I get them.

You can read the London Times original article by clicking here.