October 10, 2013

Play Farmville, feed the hungry

Posted by: in North America

Perhaps you’d feel differently about your Candy Crush addiction if you knew something useful could come out of it. Welcome to the burgeoning world of Gaming for Good. The concept has been around for a while: Vocabulary builder Freerice.com, for instance, launched in 2007 with the promise that 10 grains of rice would be donated for every correct answer (the site was later donated to the U.N.’s World Food Programme, which now runs it). Now, a range of models is proliferating that use gaming as an engine for good or, alternatively, motivate good works by way of gamification. 

In addition to rewarding successful players with donations on their behalf (as Freerice does), some games simply donate proceeds to related causes. Sidekick Cycle, the first release from the Global Gaming Initiative, follows a young girl on a quest for clean water; half the proceeds from sales of the 99 cent game and in-app purchases go to World Bicycle Relief. “We are using mobile entertainment to help effect global change. And so are you,” promises GGI’s site. Similarly, half of in-app purchases made in Get Water! For India, which is free, go to charity: water. Zynga founder Mark Pincus, who established a nonprofit arm in 2009, recently told Co.Exist, “The dream for me and a lot of my peers is to … directly deliver good in the world. And even more powerful than that is to be a platform for other people to make positive change.” Zynga.org boasts that it has helped raise $13 million for charities through its Gaming for Good efforts (although considering that Grand Theft Auto V recorded more than $800 million in sales in one day, there’s still a long way to go). 

On the other side of the equation—using gamification to drive social action—the Global Citizen Festival, an initiative of Australia’s Global Poverty Project, recently staged its second annual concert in New York’s Central Park, with headliners including Stevie Wonder and Alicia Keys. Attendees scored tickets by earning points for “socially engaged” actions, such as watching videos, sharing articles and signing petitions. Gamification still has plenty of unexplored potential, while consumers (especially Millennials) increasingly expect marketers to integrate social good into their propositions. Watch for many more innovative initiatives that marry these two trends.

No Responses to "Play Farmville, feed the hungry"

Comment Form

SIGN UP FOR OUR WEEKLY EMAIL NEWSLETTER:

New: 10 Years of 10 Trends

The Future 100

JWT AnxietyIndex

Things to Watch

  • Facebook’s Anthology
    April 30, 2015 | 4:20 pm

    FacebookVideo smallVideo is king on social media—more than 4 billion are viewed per day on Facebook alone. To capitalize on that, Facebook has just introduced Anthology, a partnership with seven media companies with the aim of creating unskippable ads.

    Continue reading “Facebook’s Anthology” »

  • MyIdol
    April 27, 2015 | 4:55 pm

    MyIdol

    Social media is abuzz with tiny pole dancers. And rock stars. And pandas. All thanks to an app that takes the humble selfie to new heights of playful absurdity—and in 3D, no less.

    Continue reading “MyIdol” »

  • Tindergram
    April 17, 2015 | 11:03 am

    Tinder Instagram

    Swiping just got more interesting—with its latest update, Tinder lets users browse the Instagram feeds of their potential matches. The pairing (which, Adweek notes, seemed inevitable) offers “a sort of social diary, co-written by your friends and family” to help people better stalk their dates.

    Continue reading “Tindergram” »

  • Everlane’s Transparent City series
    April 8, 2015 | 2:33 pm

    Everlane LA

    “We call it Radical Transparency,” says e-tail startup Everlane. The company, known for its luxe basics, was built on the principle of disclosing production costs and keeping markups as low as possible. Now, Everlane has launched the Transparent City tour, a first-of-its-kind look at the inner workings of like-minded local companies. The kickoff event in LA brought guests behind the scenes with local bloggers, designers and chefs to learn about their creative inspiration. And, perhaps the culmination of the week — Everlane invited a select few on a tour of their factory, sharing the garment construction process from start to finish. The tour had a 300-person waitlist.

    Continue reading “Everlane’s Transparent City series” »

  • Crossing ‘the digital divide’
    March 19, 2015 | 4:24 pm

    ggw_16-9

    In a piece on an 82-year-old going online for the first time, The Washington Post called attention to a rising issue—the divide between those who use the Internet and those who don’t (13% in the U.S., and 41% among senior citizens).

    Continue reading “Crossing ‘the digital divide’” »

  • Incremental saving and giving
    March 11, 2015 | 1:51 pm

    Call it progress or just laziness—apps are popping up that harness our small change and put it to better use. Acorns, dubbed “the Tinder of investing,” links to a user’s debit or credit card and rounds up to the nearest dollar on every purchase. The app then takes that spare change and invests it in a portfolio of the user’s choice—portfolios range from low to high risk (and reward). Or users can opt to let Acorns choose for them based on their age, goals, income and other factors. Meanwhile, apps like Qapital and Digit facilitate regular small transfers from checking to savings, and banks themselves are getting on the incremental savings bandwagon. (See: Bank of America’s Keep the Change and Wells Fargo’s Way2Save.)

    Continue reading “Incremental saving and giving” »

  • Augmenting sleep
    March 9, 2015 | 12:02 pm

    Sense orb

    Digital platforms are already integrated into our every waking minute—now they’re moving into our sleep. A spate of apps and devices aim to aid and facilitate better sleep, from ambient lamps to a lucid dreaming sleep mask to an app that wakes you up with a phone call from a stranger.

    Continue reading “Augmenting sleep” »

  • The sharing economy grows up
    March 3, 2015 | 3:30 pm

    Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 2.28.41 PM

    Hotel giant Starwood has bought in to the sharing economy. The group, which owns W Hotels, St. Regis and Sheraton, has announced a partnership with car service Uber in which every dollar spent by a guest on an Uber car earns points toward free rooms and other perks.

    Continue reading “The sharing economy grows up” »

  • Digital immersive exercise
    February 25, 2015 | 4:04 pm

    immersive-fitness-the-trip

    Equinox’s new revved-up cycle class speaks to a growing exercise trend—digital immersion. This month the gym brand unveiled Pursuit, an immersive cycling concept, to limited U.S. gyms. Equinox describes the program as “an immersive studio cycling experience that uses groundbreaking gaming and data visualization to drive competition and inspire peak performance.”

    Continue reading “Digital immersive exercise” »

  • Science fare
    February 20, 2015 | 2:07 pm

    Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 12.59.22 PM

    The worlds of science, gastronomy and art are continuing to cross-pollinate—from edible conceptual art to molecular gastronomy “lab cafés” to synesthetic dining events. Café ArtScience in Cambridge, Mass., is a recent example. Opened late last year by David Edwards, a Harvard engineering professor, the café serves whiskey “fogs” through a special carafe that turns the liquor into vapor (which means consumers don’t take in any of the calories and feel none of the intoxicating effects).

    Continue reading “Science fare” »

  • RSSArchive for Things to Watch »