More than half of all gamers are male. And more than a third of those chaps are aged 18 to 34, according to the Gamer Segmentation 2009 study by NPD Group. So, given that all these strapping young menare games fans, it’s not surprising that the armed forces in America have been using virtual reality as a recruitment method.

And it’s worked – ‘America’s Army’, a free-to-play shooter, has been convincing cannon fodder to join up for seven years and because of it, 30 per cent of Americans aged 16 to 24 now have a more positive view of the army. In the UK, the army launched its own online game earlier this year, no doubt hoping to replicate this success. GI Joes are now set to be joined by James Bonds – thisweek, GCHQ has been targeting would-be intelligence recruits over ads on Xbox Live. It aims to fill about 250 positions within the organisation with “quickthinking 18- to 34-yearolds” to help fight hackers and crime online.