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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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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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/


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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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E. Zachary KnightTeachers unions are just as bad as police unions, except of course you are far less likely to be killed by a teacher on duty than you are a cop. But they also protect bad teachers from being fired.07/07/2015 - 6:29pm
E. Zachary KnightGoth, so you agree they are still union members. Thankfully we have a first ammendment that protects people from being forced to join groups they don't support (in most cases any way.)07/07/2015 - 6:27pm
E. Zachary KnightAh, police unions. The reason why cops can't get fired when they beat a defenseless mentally ill homeless person to death. Or when they throw a grenade into a baby's crib. Or when theykill people they were called in to help not hurt themselves.07/07/2015 - 6:26pm
Goth_SkunkeZeek: Non-union employees have no right to attend meetings or union convention/AGM, or influence policy. The only time they get to vote is whether or not to strike.07/07/2015 - 6:24pm
Infophile(cont'd) about non-union police officers being given hell until they joined the union.07/07/2015 - 4:58pm
InfophileParadoxically, the drive in the US to get rid of unions seems to have left only the most corrupt surviving. They seem to be the only ones that can find ways to browbeat employees into joining when paying dues isn't mandatory. I've heard some stories ...07/07/2015 - 4:57pm
Matthew WilsonI am old school on this. I believe its a conflict of interest to have public sector unions. that being said, I do not have a positive look on unions in general.07/07/2015 - 3:59pm
TechnogeekWhat's best for the employee tends to be good for the employer; other way around, not so much. So long as that's the case, there's going to be a far stronger incentive for management to behave in such a way that invites retalitation than for the union to.07/07/2015 - 3:10pm
TechnogeekTeachers' unions? State legislatures. UAW? Just look at GM's middle management.07/07/2015 - 3:05pm
TechnogeekIn many ways it seems that the worse a union tends to behave, the worse that the company's management has behaved in the past.07/07/2015 - 3:02pm
james_fudgeCharity starts at home ;)07/07/2015 - 2:49pm
james_fudgeSo mandatory charity? That sounds shitty to me07/07/2015 - 2:49pm
E. Zachary KnightGoth, if Union dues are automatically withdrawn, then there is no such thing as a non-union employee.07/07/2015 - 2:38pm
Goth_Skunka mutually agreed upon charity instead.07/07/2015 - 2:33pm
Goth_Skunkyou enjoy the benefits of working in a union environment. If working in a union is against your religious beliefs or just something you wholeheartedly object to, dues will still be deducted from your pay, but you can instruct that they be directed towards07/07/2015 - 2:33pm
Goth_SkunkBasically, if you are employed in a business where employees are represented by a union for the purposes of collective bargaining, whether or not you are a union member, you will have union dues deducted from your pay, since regardless of membership,07/07/2015 - 2:32pm
Goth_SkunkIt's something that has existed in Canada since 1946. You can read more on it here: http://ow.ly/PiHWR07/07/2015 - 2:27pm
Goth_SkunkSee, we have something similar in Canada, called a "Rand Employee." This is an employee who benefits from the collective bargaining efforts of a union, despite not wanting to be a part of it for whatever reason.07/07/2015 - 2:22pm
Matthew Wilson@info depends on the sector. for example, have you looked at how powerful unions are in the public sector? I will make the argument they have too much power in that sector.07/07/2015 - 12:39pm
InfophileIt's easy to worry about unions having too much power and causing harm. The odd thing is, why do people seem to worry about that more than the fact that business-owners can have too much power and do harm, particularly at a time when unions have no power?07/07/2015 - 12:31pm
 

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