Playing for the Planet: How Video Games Can Deliver for People and the Environment
How can the fastest growing media platform in the world be harnessed to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals and the urgent...
Nairobi, 18 August 2020 – Some of the biggest names in mobile gaming today – with a combined active user base of 250 million players – unveiled a series of environmental activations they will be integrating into live games such as Subway Surfers, Angry Birds 2 and Golf Clash.
During the first ever Green Mobile Game Jam, which took place from March to April 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, developers and CEOs from 11 companies committed to integrate these green activations such as new modes, maps or buildings, themed events, storylines and messaging.
The Playing for the Planet Alliance, facilitated by UNEP and GRID-Arendal, supported the Green Mobile Game Jam, whose organizers hope that the shared learning and new practice represent a turning point for green thinking in game design for mass audience mobile games.
“We are excited to see the gaming industry throw its weight behind global efforts to reverse the climate crisis,” said UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen. “The climate emergency needs all hands on deck. In reaching out to 250 million gamers, we hope to inspire audiences to take action.”
Space Ape CEO John Earner, who helped oversee the jam, said, “I was sceptical whether we could pull it off, especially during lockdown, but it was really inspiring to see companies who are normally very competitive come together and deliver some really great work. I see a huge amount of potential here for our industry and player communities going forward.”
The results of the jam, activation designs and timelines for implementation can be seen on this Green Mobile Game Jam page, which features the following activations:
The participants in the jam were asked to address themes including climate change, reforestation, restoring nature and renewable energy. Green Mobile Game Jam participants voted Playdemic as “Overall Winner”, MAG Interactive as “Most Adoptable” for their collaboration with TreesPlease, and Creative Mobile as “First to Market”. Wildworks emerged as “UNEP Favourite.”
Some activations have already been integrated and the rest will go live by early 2021. The Playing for the Planet Alliance is partnering with Google Play to promote eligible games, with the activations later this year. Next year, organizers hope that additional companies will sign up to participate in the jam, potentially reaching up to 1 billion gamers with the activations.
Notes to editors
The Playing for the Planet Alliance is facilitated by UNEP and GRID-Arendal, and includes 25 member companies that have made commitments: Bornholm Game Days, Creative Mobile, E-Line Media, Future Games of London, Google Stadia, Green Man Gaming, iDreamSky, Internet of Elephants, MAG Interactive, Microsoft, Niantic, Pixelberry Studios, Playmob, Reliance Games, Rovio, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Space Ape, Sports Interactive, Strange Loop Games, Supercell, Sybo, Tigertron, Twitch, Ubisoft and WildWorks.
About the UN Environment Programme (UNEP):
UNEP is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.
GRID-Arendal is a non-profit environmental communications centre based in Norway. We transform environmental data into innovative, science-based information products and provide capacity-building services, with the aim of strengthening management capacity and motivating decision-makers to make positive change. We collaborate with the UN Environment Programme and other partners around the world.
For further information on the Playing for the Planet Alliance, contact:
Keishamaza Rukikaire, Head of News & Media, UNEP, +254717080753, firstname.lastname@example.org
Release date: 18 Aug 2020