Video games roll up their sleeves for nature and biodiversity at the UN

Published on 30/09/2020

At the UN Biodiversity Summit in New York today, the video gaming industry showcased actions that they are taking around the issues of nature and biodiversity in games ranging from Angry Birds 2 to Subway Surfers.

The actions were presented in a short two-minute film that will be broadcast to Heads of State between 1300 – 1500 EST as one of the “Special Initiatives”. It included companies that took part in the 2020 Green Mobile Game Jam as well as Sony Interactive Entertainment’s work within their PlayStation game ‘Dreams’.

As part of their commitment to biodiversity, Rovio’s game Angry Birds 2 integrated the theme of reforestation, Pixelberry’s Choices integrates a climate story-line across the game, Creative Mobile will be restoring biodiversity in their game Zoocraftwhile MAG Interactive running awareness and tree-planting themed events in their games WordBrain and WordBrain2.

These activations rose out of the first ever Green Mobile Game Jam, which took place from March to April this year and saw 11 companies committed to integrate new modes, maps or buildings, themed events, storylines and messaging in their games, which will then have the potential to reach 250 million people.

In addition, Sony Interactive Entertainment has worked with UNEP to help develop and launch a VR360 video in Dreams to educate gamers about climate change in everyday life situations, and in partnership with Sustainable Coastlines, a charity operating in New Zealand, to create a playable beach-clean game in Dreams, “Pick Up Quick”.

The UNEP-facilitated Playing for the Planet Alliance supported the Green Mobile Game Jam, whose organisers hope that the shared learning and new practice, represents a new turning point for green thinking in game design for mass audience mobile games. Next year, organisers hope that additional companies will sign up to participate in the jam with the goal of reaching up to 1 billion gamers through the activations.