You slide your finger across the screen, the red bird sitting in a slingshot is ready to fly – you tweak the angle and let go. The bird soars across the sky and as you watch its progress on your phone you’re probably not thinking about saving the planet. But that’s about to change.
Realizing the potential they have to engage billions of people to help protect the planet, the developers of Angry Birds 2 and 10 other major mobile-game makers have committed to introducing a series of environmentally-themed messages into their titles. Among the famous flying birds, popular games like Golf Clash, Subway Surfers, and Transformers: Earth Wars are part of the project.
“There’s something like three billion people with mobile phones and half of them are gamers,” says John Earner, boss of Space Ape who makes Transformers: Earth Wars. “As an industry, we have a massive reach in comparison to other entertainment mediums. We feel like there is an opportunity and increasingly imperative for us to do something.”
The initiative is the result of a “game jam”, where game companies gathered together to brainstorm new ideas with the United Nations Environment Programme. It asked how games can educate and engage people on green issues, and inspire them to help save the planet.
John, who helped organize the brainstorm, accepts the developers’ ideas “don’t go far enough” but believes they are a good first step in putting environmental issues in front of a massive audience. The 11 companies that took part have a combined audience of 250 million players.