UN partners with games developers with ‘Playing for the Planet Alliance’

Eleven top developers have all committed to joining forces with the UN’s Environment Programme with the aim to raise awareness of a range of environmental issues, in a new initiative called the P​laying for the Planet ​​Alliance, which should reach over 250m players.

MAG Interactive, Sybo, Space Ape, WildWorks, Playdemic, Fingersoft, Rovio, Pixelberry Creative, Future Games of London and GameDuell, have all committed to integrating “green activations” into their best-performing titles. With each activation being themed and matched to the game in question. 

The move came off the back of the Green Mobile Game Jam, which took place from March to April 2020 at the height of the pandemic, with participants from the 11 companies committing to integrate their work as new modes, maps or buildings, themed events, storylines and messaging.

“We are excited to see the gaming industry throw its weight behind global efforts to reverse the climate crisis,” said Inger Andersen Executive Director of UNEP. “The climate emergency needs all hands on deck. In reaching out to 250 million gamers, we hope to inspire audiences to take action.”

John Earner, CEO of Space Ape who helped oversee the Jam said, “I was skeptical 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.”

Some activations have already been integrated and the rest will go live by early 2021. The Playing for the Planet Alliance is also working with Google Play to promote eligible games. Next year, organisers hope that additional companies will sign up to participate in the jam, potentially reaching up to 1 billion gamers with the activations.

The individual developers and their activations are:

  1. MAG Interactive will be running awareness and tree-planting themed events in their games WordBrain and WordBrain2. 
  2. Sybo will be launching a world tour stop in Subway Surfers which will ask their community to take action on the frontlines of the climate crisis.
  3. Space Ape will be educating and engaging players about the benefits of renewable energy through their game Transformers: Earth Wars.
  4. WildWorks has introduced new renewable energy choices such as solar and wind power that reward players with special eco-credits and unlocks in the Animal Jam.
  5. Playdemic will be seeking to educate and activate millions of mobile gamers in their game Golf Clash.
  6. Fingersoft will be adding recharge stations with solar panels in Hill Climb Racing 2.
  7. Rovio will be hosting two in-game events in Angry Birds 2 around the theme of reforestation and will share links with players where they can learn more about reforestation efforts and how they can contribute.
  8. Pixelberry will design a new book in Choices that will see two sisters raising awareness about climate change while their family’s fishing business is affected by a major fish die-off.
  9. Creative mobile will be restoring biodiversity through special events to fundraise for the Wolf Conservation Trust in their game Zoocraft: Animal Family.
  10. Future Games of London are shining a light on melting polar ice with a new game update in Hungry Shark World; Arctic Extinction.
  11. GameDuell will be providing the Belote.com players with practical information about sustainability that they can use in their daily life.

About Seth Barton

Seth Barton is the editor of MCV – which covers every aspect of the industry: development, publishing, marketing and much more. Before that Seth toiled in games retail at Electronics Boutique, studied film at university, published console and PC games for the BBC, and spent many years working in tech journalism. Living in South East London, he divides his little free time between board games, video games, beer and family. You can find him tweeting @sethbarton1.

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