Play to Save the World – Triggering Social Change Through Games


Play to Save the World – Triggering Social Change Through Games


Pascu, Alexandra Ioana


Classification JEL

L31, O35


While games have been usually associated with pure fun for the sake of it, social isolation, procrastination and the lack of a greater purpose anchored in reality, lately they have shed partly these attributes through demonstrating their potential association with hard work, harnessing the power of communities and as sources for generating social value. However, although playing games does not, yet, enable individuals to save the world, a growing number of them still offer the opportunity to change the life of a limited group of people. Changing the way people relate to each other and the actions they choose to take when addressing matters such as racism, poverty or environment issues has proven rather difficult. Ways of triggering the transition from awareness to actual involvement for a growing number of individuals involve CSR campaigns and actions of social enterprises that focus on a clear, specific goal, team work, competition, emphasizing each individual’s agency, and presenting a selected figure or group of people to create a visual representation of the target. This paper analyzes the means through which social change is generated through the employment of these aspects as elements that stand at the core of games in general, and video games in particular. Further on, it aims at categorizing the unique features belonging to social change dedicated video games based on their determined ability to enable a higher degree of participation both in terms of intensity and in terms of scope, when addressing social causes, and determine the actual nature of their impact. Last, but not least, the paper ends with a discussion regarding the ways in which the experience created by games could be integrated by social actors to generate the impact desired.


social change, CSR, game development, serious games

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Please cite this article as: mbd (2016) Play to Save the World – Triggering Social Change Through Games. International Conference on Marketing and Business Development.