Saturday, February 27, 2010

Social Games Create Social Change

I can’t begin to talk about how many facebook Farmville and mafia wars invitations I’ve gotten since the emergency of these facebook games. It seems like everyone is playing one or both of these games every time they get on the social networking site. The maker of those games, Zynga, has found a way to take entertainment and turn it into profit for the victims of the Haiti earthquake. They have generated $1.5 million by selling limited edition virtual goods, all of which proceeds have gone to the UN World Food Program. It’s good to see traditional entrepreneurs using their tools and knowledge to create a good social impact. The merging of for-profit and not for profit business ideologies was one of the themes of our first case study and the endeavor that Zynga took is a prime example of how the two can co-exist and create substantial results for both sides of the aisle. For profit businesses are generally more known because their goal is to appeal to a person’s personal needs and desires. When they take their popularity and implore people to take an interest and help someone get what they need, the impact they can have can be extreme. Nancy Raman, the director of communications for the World Food Program said, “Through their donations, Zynga players are helping us to bring urgently needed food assistance to people who have been plunged into hunger by this devastating earthquake.” So contrary to what parents have been saying for years, video games and computer games do make a difference!

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