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How brands are using video games to make a positive social impact / Video games and Corporate Social Responsibility

Industry Commentary
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Dove

There have been plenty of great campaigns utilising video games to inspire positive social change over the years. In 2019, Space Ape Games added an in-app purchase donation button to its mobile games that raised over $120,000 for wildlife and humanitarian charities fighting the Australian Wildfires. Most recently, 343 Studios expanded its partnership with Limbitless Solutions, a nonprofit that creates bespoke 3D prosthetics for children with limb loss, to offer more Halo-based prosthetics. 

Similarly, there’s a long list of video games that have been created to educate players and raise awareness of important issues such as environmentalism, healthcare, poverty and social inequality. The Life is Strange series tackles difficult topics such as bullying and suicide while wrapping them around coming-of-age themes, while the creator of Papa & Yo uses the fantasy adventure game to explore themes of addiction and abuse from his own lived experience. 

Seeing video games being used as a force for the greater good is great but you don’t need to be a video game company to use video games in your corporate social responsibility plans. The recent launch of Dove’s Real Virtual Beauty campaign is part of the brand’s mission to ‘challenge and change female representation within video games’, with the end goal of ‘making gaming a more space for women and girls.’ 

As part of this mission, Dove says it's building a global character art collection with appropriate representations of female characters in gaming that can be accessed by developers for free. And to support it, Dove is launching an online course designed to educate developers, creators and artists about beauty and diversity in gaming. 

The global launch of Dove’s campaign comes at a time when brands are making a concentrated effort to grow their presence in video games and metaverse platforms. But as Dove’s campaign proves, there are ways of building brand awareness in the gaming space outside of licensed IP plays in the likes of Fortnite and Roblox that are proving so popular. 

Of course, you can always raise awareness and make a positive social impact by integrating CSR initiatives into any licensing gaming activation you’re planning. Philips Norelco launched a branded experience in Roblox called Shavetopia where visitors can purchase unique facial styles for their avatars, with any proceeds generated by these purchases going ‘directly to bolster Movember's work in supporting mental health and suicide prevention, as well as prostate and testicular cancer awareness,’ according to a press release

If you’re a brand considering a move into video games and/or the metaverse, have you considered how any such moves could be integrated into your CSR initiatives? There are plenty of great gaming charities out there, from Playing for the Planet Alliance to SpecialEffect. Alternatively, you can always explore licensing opportunities with video game studios whose values align with your brand. Not only will such partnerships lead to more organic collaborations, but they’ll also achieve a lot of good in the process. 

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