Chris Swain speaks about taking a pragmatic approach to social impact games: Use a successful model like “play for free” successfully exploited by companies like Zynga.
To achieve measurable impact on social causes beyond awareness, establish a metric for your impact. Can the activity of your game player create an impact?
To create a meaningful impact, you need to achieve mass reach.
To do this a game needs to…
- be entertaining
- be distributed online
- leverage a social graph
- be free but….marketed for a mass reach (controversial; “free to play business” with small numbers of players paying, creating profit)
Swain notes that social games get primetime TV-size audiences. “More people play Farmville than watch CSI.” Creators of social impact games should try to leverage this.
How do you measure the average impact of the player by using built-in game metrics?
Swain’s game platform is Ecotopia: “a free-to-play game with a social conscience, advances the popular city-building game model as it aims to wrap fun and compelling gameplay with philanthropy and real-world involvement” (quote from MMOABC).
Some panels of Games for Change are being livestreamed,