Games Can Fuel Social Change

January 12, 2010 -

Videogames can provide new and effective ways to raise awareness and engage users, prompting an article that asks whether they might be the future of social change.

A piece on Change.org builds its case around a successful promotion put on by Zynga’s social game FarmVille, which allowed the game’s players to buy special seeds to benefit Haitian charities. The Sweet Seeds for Haiti drive ended up raising over $1.0 million dollars.

The article compares Zynga’s successful implementation to one that is more old-school:

…a consortium of foundations and online giving platforms were sponsoring America's Giving Challenge, which put up almost $250,000 in bounty for nonprofits to engage their supporters. In a month, almost 8,000 competing nonprofits raised a total of just over $2 million. One of the biggest pushes in our field basically had the same level of return as releasing a virtual freaking seed.

If that doesn't raise some eyebrows, it should.

While contributing to social change is good and all, the author worries a bit about “videogame-embedded philanthropy” taking the place of real-world positive actions, though he views it as an opportunity for non-profits:

I worry a bit that for those whose first taste of good is this sort of video game embedded philanthropy, they will feel like their experience of having contributed is good enough. That the input of buying a charitable good equals an output of feeling and having done good, and that is that. Of course where the real opportunity lies is in the conversion of those passive supporters to active users. That may be a great place for creative nonprofits to focus next.

Zynga’s Mark Pincus thinks that the future charitable virtual goods market could be worth a billion dollars.


Comments

Re: Games Can Fuel Social Change

Gaming is simply another form of expression, therefore it can give a social expresssion.

"The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." -Albert Einstein

Re: Games Can Fuel Social Change

heh, no wonder the older generations are so scared of gaming.

Re: Games Can Fuel Social Change

I would think that PennyArcade's Child's Play charity drives are a better example of enacting social change than anything Zynga could pull off.  Granted, it's a bit more abstract as a social change mechanism, as people would have to realize that hospitals, with ever-decreasing budgets, are being forced to cut things to make a patient's hospital stay more bearable, but PA isn't being sued, either.

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You KILL Vampires. You don't DATE them.

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Re: Games Can Fuel Social Change

…but PA isn't being sued, either.

at least not successfully. ZING!

岩「…Where do masochists go when they die?」

岩「…I can see why Hasselbeck's worried about fake guns killing fake people. afterall, she's a fake journalist on a fake news channel」

Re: Games Can Fuel Social Change

Isn't Zynga the target of a class action lawsuit for unethical business practices? Hardly the kind of company we want to push the whole "Games can benifit Humanity" angle, if you ask me.

Re: Games Can Fuel Social Change

Not to mention its chairman is on record proudly boasting at how he takes money to push scams, malware, scare-ware and other shit onto his players through those "special offers" the games provide to earn more gamepoints.

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I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: Games Can Fuel Social Change

Like any other medium I guess it can change society.... but really...... society in whole or part uses it to change....or brow beat other parts into the light......


Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! CP/IP laws should not effect the daily life of common people! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

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Re: Games Can Fuel Social Change

"Zynga’s Mark Pincus thinks that the future charitable virtual goods market could be worth a billion dollars."

And I bet he loves the idea of skimming a percentage of it for his company to cover "expenses".

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I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: Games Can Fuel Social Change

That is his cut.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: Games Can Fuel Social Change

A true philanthropist. /sarcasm

He's nothing more than one of these people who ride in on the back of causes and charities to make money out of peoples good will.

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I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.
 
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Andrew EisenSleaker - Who the heck are you reading that is claiming "all gamers are bad," we "need to pass laws or judgement on all gamers," that if "you self-identify as a Gamer, you're immediately the problem," or that gamers are "obligated to stop harassment"?09/20/2014 - 9:44pm
erthwjimhe swatted more than just krebs, I think he swatted 30 people http://krebsonsecurity.com/2014/05/teen-arrested-for-30-swattings-bomb-threats/09/20/2014 - 9:31pm
Craig R.Btw, the guy who swatted security expert Brian Krebs? He got picked up recently. It can be done.09/20/2014 - 8:55pm
Craig R.Such things are not done in a vacuum... hence why the 4chan and other logs show what fools you've all been, tricked into doing the trolls' work09/20/2014 - 8:49pm
Sleaker@Technogeek - How do you call someone out that anonymously calls in a SWAT team, or sends threats to people?09/20/2014 - 7:04pm
Technogeek"It also doesn't mean you're obligated to stop harassment from all gamers that are doing so." I'd say you're certainly obligated to call them out when you see it happening.09/20/2014 - 5:17pm
SleakerNow if you disagree with anything in my last 2 posts then we obviously have a difference in world view, and wont come to any sort of agreement. I'm fine with that, maybe some people aren't?09/20/2014 - 5:09pm
SleakerIt also doesn't mean that just because a news outlet says that Gamers are the problem and you self-identify as a Gamer, you're immediately the problem. It also doesn't mean you're obligated to stop harassment from all gamers that are doing so.09/20/2014 - 4:59pm
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Sleaker@Conster - one person getting harassed is a 'problem' only so far as the harassee's are doing it. Just because a select few people choose to act like this doesn't make it widespread. Nor does it immediately make everyone responsible to put an end to it.09/20/2014 - 4:54pm
james_fudgeno worries09/20/2014 - 4:15pm
TechnogeekI misread james' comment as "we can't have a debate without threatening" there at first. Actually wound up posting a shout about death threats and "kill yourself" not technically being the same thing before I realized.09/20/2014 - 3:59pm
james_fudgeDon't hit me *cowers behind Andrew*09/20/2014 - 3:20pm
ConsterYou take that back right now, james, or else. *shakes fist menacingly*09/20/2014 - 3:00pm
james_fudgeOur community is awesome. We can have a debate without threatening to kill each other.09/20/2014 - 2:50pm
Andrew EisenNo one's crossed a line but I just want to remind you all to keep discussions civil.09/20/2014 - 1:54pm
Craig R.tldr: I'm a gamer, and imo those who support GamerGate should feel free to take a flying leap off a cliff.09/20/2014 - 1:27pm
Craig R.Not only that, I'm pretty sure that if actual studies were done, you'd still deny them, Sleaker. After all, it's not what you'd want to hear to support your rose-colored view of GamerGate.09/20/2014 - 1:18pm
Craig R.There IS an issue. Nor do we need a study to show that if you deny it then you're part of the problem.09/20/2014 - 1:17pm
 

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