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Can Social Media Games Make Us Greener?

There has always been an argument for the use of games to help to change or modify behaviour. So can it make us behave greener? Recycling company Greenopolis is bringing out a Facebook game called Oceanopolis which has been in a closed beta test for the last number of months, with over a year of development time. The game is designed as a way to use social gaming to reward recycling both in real life and the virtual world. Greenopolis has a real stake in this as it is a subsidiary of waste services giant Waste Management.

In Oceanopolis, players build and manage a sustainable environment, comprised of their own island, surrounding ocean waters and the habitats of their friends. Pollution trapped in ocean gyres (strong rotating currents) is washing debris up onto and around the islands of Oceanopolis. Players must turn trash into treasure by recycling and up-cycling. Features of the game include:

  • Create a sustainable community – Build an island from the ground up, and sell items from your sustainable village while managing and exploring your island and surrounding ocean waters. Players can also purchase and manage multiple islands.
  • Collect and share clean water – Collect precious clean water, which serves as in-game currency, to nurture plants and produce. Players can also share or sell water to friends.
  • Challenge friends – Oceanopolis’ robust social features allow players to involve their friends in their positive actions. Players can clean each other’s islands – and earn more points – invite friends to visit, share or sell water and supplies and send gifts to each other.

In another use for online gaming, this time in terms of sustainability and green development at a city level, IBM has launched CityOne, a game that simulates a big city’s operations and shows business and civic leaders how to make their cities and industries run smarter by solving real-world business, environmental and logistics problems.

The game is related to IBM’s Smarter Planet theme, an initiative to get the world running on smarter and greener technologies. CityOne helps city planners, developers, and government agencies figure out how to address the challenges of running a big city.


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