Notes from Charity Comms Talk on Games
How games can help your charity?
I did a talk today on games and charity. This was the blurb…
From Wii Fit to Farmville, games are now common currency for millions of us; the average social gamer is a 43-year-old woman and 8 out of 10 UK homes have one or more games consoles. But they can offer more than fun, research found 52% of players report games help them think about moral issues. Sega raised $250,000 to help with the Japanese earthquake in a week. This session introduces the gaming sector and explores its potential for charities.
Below are notes and links from my talk…
Who is Playing Games?
The stereotype is that games are the domain of kids and teenagers, which is true – but that domain is expanding fast. Games are now a mainstream medium.
Games Grow Up
For example of something very different from shooting, driving and sports games is ‘Flower‘ on PS3 where you play the wind collecting pollen.
Games Grow Up (Still More)…
Another example of games developing is Fate of the World, a serious-science informed game about global warming.
Who is Now Playing Games?
- Games industry is growing 10% per year.
- 74% of 12-15 year-olds have a games console in their bedroom.
- Average social gamer is in fact a 43 year-old!
- 58% of women and 56% of men play games online (with 13% and 10% respectively of those groups playing them daily, source; Lightspeed Research, 2009 cited by Nielsen, 2009)
Where are We Playing Games?
As games grow, they are moving into social networks and to our phones at a rapid pace.
How are We Playing Games?
- 52% of gamers report playing games where they think about moral and ethical issues.
- “Good games create good learning in order to create good problem solving and, in the act, create deep engagement and satisfaction.” (Gee 2009:39)
How Can We Use Games?
- Fund Raising
Games as Outreach (High Tea’s 3 million plays)
The Wellcome Trust’s High Tea, a game that was part of the High Society exhibition was a huge success in plays and in interesting the players in the game’s core themes.
Games as Education (e.g. Sweapshop: How Efficiency Costs People)
How do you talk to people about the issues involved in sweatshops and employment? Put the audience in charge of one so they can see for themselves. The game is fun but is full of real world information about the issue of sweatshops.
Games as Fund Raising (SEGA’s $240,000 donation)
After the recent Japanese earthquake games company SEGA had an iTunes sale and put all proceeds to charity – and the games shot up the charts and generated huge social buzz in the process.
Gamification is about using games ideas and technology in non-gaming areas. For more on this topic, see here. This example is Double Impact, which is based around the idea of using game-reward mechanics to encourage positive behaviour.
Some Hints and Tips…
– Games are not a Panacea (300 apps per day released! A game on its own will not work – it needs to be integrated.)
– Cost of Development will vary (£5K to $25 million)
– Charity and Gaming links are Underdeveloped; there is scope for more!
– Does your charity offer audience? Opportunities; Games Jam, Students, New developers (the digital challenge is often to get noticed!)