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Gamers invade Army Web site

The U.S. Army says more than 400,000 people have downloaded the service's new recruiting game since it became available last week.

The U.S. Army announced that more than 400,000 people have downloaded the service's new recruiting game since it became available last week.

As previously reported by CNET News.com, "America's Army" is a pair of games, one a squad-based shooter imitating military tactics and another a simulation game that replicates a typical Army career path. The games were developed by teams at the Naval Post-Graduate School in Monterey, Calif., and the Army is making them available for free as recruiting tools.

An early "Recon" version of the games became available for download July 4 from the Army's main recruiting site and other Web outlets and quickly became a major bandwidth-burner.

According to an announcement from the Army, 400,000 copies of the game were downloaded over the long weekend, and more than 240,000 players already have completed the "basic training" portion of the game to qualify for online play, forcing the Army to scramble to triple the number of servers dedicated to the game.

"With this great demand, we've taken all measures to ensure that everyone who wants to play the game will be able to," said Lt. Col. Casey Wardynski, project originator and director. "We've increased the number of servers, increased the number of gamers that can play in a mission, and are releasing software this week to let gamers host their own servers."