Last year in December 2019, when Australia was struggling with bushfires, the event which was named the worst wildlife disaster of modern time, the players of Space Ape Video Games contact the firm asking if they could do something to mitigate the situation. The London-based company applied an in-app purchase feature through which players contributed to different wildlife and humanitarian charities. In 4 days, the company raised $120,000.
UNEP and Video Games Collab
The video game industry is more motivated than ever to contribute to saving the environment. In August 2020, popular mobile gaming brands launched a series of environment-themed missions.
Some brands which participated are Angry Birds 2, Golf Clash, and Subway Surfers. The themes encouraged the players to combat climate change, and protect endangered animals. This was part of the collaboration between the United Nations Environment Program and various game developers. Since the video gaming community is one of the largest communities in the world, it is a great medium to spread awareness.
Playing for the Planet
Around 2.6 billion video game players have shown interest in environmental conservation. The statistics mentioned in a report called Playing for the Planet. You may read the report here- https://www.unenvironment.org/resources/publication/playing-planet
The gaming industry has huge yearly revenue, which is around $140 billion. This is more than the revenue of Hollywood, Bollywood, and Record Music sales combined. The live streaming of games is getting more and more popular, special thanks to YouTube and Twitch. More people now watch streaming gamers than they watch HBO and Netflix.
UNEP realized the potential here. Directing even a small portion of this audience and revenue towards the betterment of the planet can create a colossal impact. Subway surfer has been urging its players to protect the planet. The game has more than 3 billion downloads. Space Ape is one of the 25 firms of the UNEP Playing for the Planet Alliance. The project was launched back in 2019, to encourage actions on climate change. So far, 970 million players have been reached. The companies have pledged to reduce their carbon emission, support global causes, and integrate green activation in the games.
11 of these gaming companies have added the feature of 'Green Nudge' which is a sustainability element. These games include objectives such as skipping meat on Monday, Biking to work, etc. Space Ape game Transformers: Earth Wars has a storyline in which the players have to search and pick renewable sources of energy, find sustainable technologies for the earth. The company has also been asking its players to switch to sustainable options in daily life.
A very popular game Choices has integrated a storyline in which a young woman has returned to her hometown which is facing the problem of a large number of fish deaths. The story continues and the players have to advocate fighting climate change and making sustainable choices.
Sarah Walke, who is one of the writers, said the team has noticed climate anxiety in the younger generation. For the millennials, climate change is the most critical issue right now. Sarah also added that they were inspired by Greta Thunberg's story. All the employees who are parents were also worried about the future of their kids and wanted to contribute as individuals.
Gaming Industry Considering Carbon Neutrality
Some major brands are also considering reducing their carbon footprint and become carbon neutral. More than 50 million tons of electronic waste is produced in a year, and this number is set to touch 120 million marks by 2050.
Supercell, which made games such as Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, recently went carbon neutral and will be offsetting the carbon dioxide they produced. Rovio and Space Ape have similar plans.
Author: Subhasri Banerjee
Data and Statistics: WWF
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