America’s Army, the free-to-play PC game called an extremely effective recruiting tool, has cost taxpayers $32.8 million to-date.
GameSpot filed a Freedom of Information Act request to find out the game’s budget, and was rewarded with a year-by-year breakdown of costs. The game was initially planned as a five-year long project with a total operating budget of $7.0 million.
Costs for America's Army over the years:
- 2000 - $3,500,000
- 2001 - $5,600,000
- 2002 - $1,862,985
- 2003 - $2,600,000
- 2004 - $3,866,482
- 2005 - $1,288,552
- 2006 - $4,050,748
- 2007 - $2,788,137
- 2008 - $3,887,450
- 2009 - $3,395,702
Additional, unspecified information (perhaps on future plans for the series or hard numbers on actual recruitment increasing/decreasing as a result of the game) requested by GameSpot was denied, with the Army writing “disclosure of this information is likely to cause substantial harm to the Department of the Army's competitive position in the gaming industry.”
The game was launched on July 4, 2002.