The free-to-play military sim War Thunder apparently has a lot of gearheads with knowledge of classified intel playing it. On multiple occasions recently, players of the game have posted classified information about the US military online. This has led to the unfortunate situation where playing the game is now considered a red flag on a background check. That is, if you want to work for a defense contractor like Raytheon.
News of the game’s suddenly risky status was posted on the game’s subreddit. One of the users posted that his friend was applying for a job at Raytheon and had to submit to a background check. As part of that process, he provided a list of references. When the Redditor got the call from the PI, he was asked a series of questions about his friend. They included the typical “would he overthrow the government?” type of queries, but also: “Does he play War Thunder?” Thankfully, his friend does not play the game, and though it sounds like a bizarre question, there’s a good reason for it.
congratulations to the Warthunder on being the first video game to be classified as a risk on a background check, your community is terrifying and I hope it continues being so pic.twitter.com/f3CqNhnIBH
— Matt, Dad Hat Enthusiast (@TheChowderhead) January 23, 2023
According to GamesRadar, a week ago one of the game’s players shared classified intelligence about the F-16 fighter jet in the game’s forums. The reason they did so is as old as time itself: to win an argument. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the next day the same user shared even more secret documents. The second violation pertained to information about the F-15 Strike Eagle. Not surprisingly, the classified info has been deleted so nobody can see what it was.
Apparently, the people who play this game are so hardcore about the realism of the combat vehicles that this has happened before. In 2021, someone shared classified documents from the UK about the Challenger 2 tank with the game’s developers. They were trying to get them to change the design of the tank to be more realistic. The documents were reportedly akin to a user manual for the tank. They were stamped unclassified, but the Ministry of Defense still weighed in on the controversy. They warned the user the documents were not for public dissemination. Not only that, it was a violation of UK law, punishable by up to 14 years in prison. The thread was eventually locked and removed by the moderators.
Given this context, it’s pretty easy to see why a defense contractor would be wary of a War Thunder player joining its ranks. That said, it’s also hard to believe people would risk prison time to settle a score. Apparently, War Thunder has a rather dedicated audience of military hardware enthusiasts. Like, really dedicated.
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