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.

--- With the first link, the chain is forged.

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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http://zippydsm.deviantart.com/

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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NeenekoAh, that old straw man. That is one of the ironies about the discussion, the whole point is showing how good people can still have problems with sexism and not realize it.09/17/2014 - 9:11pm
Andrew EisenYes, there have been a handful of op-eds suggesting that the term “gamer” has become tainted (two that I know of) but that’s the opinion of only a few. I've seen an equal number from those who disagree.09/17/2014 - 8:55pm
Andrew EisenExcept, you haven't provided a single example of a site that’s actually calling gamers a "collective of Sexist White Bigoted Basement Dwelling Manchildren."09/17/2014 - 8:55pm
TechnogeekIf you want to make the stereotype of gamers less painful, try calling people out when they do bad shit rather than handwave it away as "not all gamers". Even if it is a few bad apples, that'll still more than enough to spoil the barrel.09/17/2014 - 8:53pm
quiknkoldI'm not going to Sell Gamergate anymore. It can sell itself. But I will sell the integrity of the Gamer. That we are still good people, who create and donate to charitys, Who engage with those around us and just want to have a good time.09/17/2014 - 7:35pm
quiknkoldpeople should not be harrassed and punished for the actions of a few. I've always welcomed and accepted everybody who wanted to join in. Who wanted to make them, or play them. I love good strong female protagonists, and want more.09/17/2014 - 7:35pm
quiknkoldOne of the tennants of Gamergate is to stand up against Harrassment. That Gamers arent like those assholes. We can argue for days if the Sexism or Antifeminism or corruption is there or not, But the one thing I believe in and wear on my sleave is that09/17/2014 - 7:35pm
quiknkoldBut there were these websites, attacking me and people like me, for the actions of a few. and then others joined in on Twitter and other places. there was a hashtag that said "explain in 4 words a gamer" and it made me sick.09/17/2014 - 7:35pm
quiknkoldManchildren who are awful people and that the Identity of the Gamer should die. This hurt me personally. I've always identified as a Gamer. Even in my childhood years, I was a Gamer. All my friends are Gamers. Its one of the core parts of my identity.09/17/2014 - 7:34pm
quiknkoldUltimately, With the whole Gamergate thing, I jumped on it due to the harassment. A small number of assholes harrass Anita and Zoe, and then all the publications lumped together Gamers as this collective of Sexist White Bigoted Basement Dwelling09/17/2014 - 7:34pm
quiknkoldEZacharyKnight : Lemme ask you a question. We have people who cling to walls, people who fire lasers from their eyes, people who can shapeshift....and yet fabric needs to be upheld to RL physics?09/17/2014 - 6:54pm
james_fudgebody paint?09/17/2014 - 5:33pm
E. Zachary Knightquiknkold, I stand corrected on the buttcrack thing. Still, I know of no fabric that actually does that.09/17/2014 - 5:05pm
Andrew EisenSo... it's unethical to discuss the ethics surrounding public interest vs. personal privacy?09/17/2014 - 4:45pm
prh99The source for the game was just released not long ago, it's at https://github.com/keendreams/keen09/17/2014 - 4:43pm
prh99An Indiegogo champagin bought the rights to the early 90's game Keen Dreams to make it open source and release it on GOG etc. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/let-s-get-keen-dreams-re-released-legally09/17/2014 - 4:42pm
james_fudgeAlso http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-London/2014/09/17/Exposed-the-secret-mailing-list-of-the-gaming-journalism-elite09/17/2014 - 4:29pm
Andrew EisenI read the Kotaku story. Nowhere does it say anything close to "Gamers are white bigoted sexist losers." It's commenting specifically on the crap being slung at people discussing gender issues in games. So, what's the problem?09/17/2014 - 4:06pm
Andrew EisenYeah, I can imagine Spiderwoman posed like in your second link.09/17/2014 - 4:00pm
Andrew EisenThat's not the same pose. Spiderman (who is wearing an actual outfit rather than body paint) is crouched low to the ground. Kinda like a spider! Spiderwoman has her butt up in the air like she's waiting to be mounted.09/17/2014 - 3:59pm
 

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