Harnessing The Power Of Play

Written by: Nick Denys
Posted: 13th February 2012

Nick Denys, co-editor of the political blog Platform 10, points towards the potential of giving through gaming …

“Computer games are the new movies. The gaming sector is the new Hollywood, except the stars  aren’t clustered in one place. It doesn’t matter if you live in Dundee, as long as you have a decent connection to the Web you can experience, experiment and collaborate. Neither are video games the exclusive preserve of the young. As each generation grows-up they may cut their hair and exchange the baggie jeans for suites but they keep their interest in gaming. PwC estimate that the global video-game market was worth around $56 billion last year. As the way we use Social Media evolves (i.e IPad) games adapt to suite preferences (i.e games you can play in short bursts – like Angry Birds).

If gaming is such a powerful and pervasive force why hasn’t it been successfully co-opted by social enterprise? This was the question posed at a recent Spring Giving/PlayMob event. Research shows time and again that ‘giving’ is an activity based in emotions, and strongly centred around community. These gaming genes – along with the potential for low cost entry – suggest that social enterprise and gaming should combine easily, but so far no-one has achieved a high profile success through doing so.

Styles of giving arrive in crazes. ‘Drop the Debt’ successfully introduced rubber bracelets, which were then co-opted by others. Breast Cancer UK are not the only charity who organise big race events anymore. The ‘cause’ that unlocks the power in gaming will be the one that takes giving to the next level – where the rest will follow.”

Nick Denys co-edits the political blog Platform 10.

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