Facebook Games Used to Help the Real World
Zynga, the provider of many popular Facebook games such as Farmville and Mafia Wars, has made it possible for real money used in these games to go toward non-profit organizations.
For example, when you purchase a sprinkler, a pump or a jerry can on Farmville, 100% of the profits go to Water.org, a non-profit started by Gary White and Matt Damon that provides clean water and sanitation to less fortunate communities.
According to the Christian Science Monitor, this collaboration "sets a growing trend in gaming for social impact." Non-profits welcome the opportunity to raise awareness in this way.
Water.org Chief Community Officer, Mike McCanon said, "We try to catch them where they're enjoying themselves... It's an interesting place to introduce them to problems."
And gamers are enjoying themselves in a way that is attractive to organizations who are interested in gaining long-term attention from people. Ken Weber, executive director of Zynga.org, believes that the immersive environments of social games attract passionate players who invest their time for months and even years. “These games are contextual for them,” he said. “Water is important in farming and in the world – it is a naturally occurring relationship. We are connecting something in people’s lives. We are interested in creating a dynamic that makes it work.”
Often criticized as loners--solipsistic in their solitary activities, gamers now have an avenue to enjoy themselves and contribute to the bettering of the world.