Playing games brings together fundamental aspects of psychology, sociology and technology to engage people for social change 72% of American households play computer and video gamesWHY GAMES? Have seen the rise of games in popular culture with video games and reality television competitions Games engage the public’s imagination
Knight Foundation aims to increase the ability of individuals to engage in change by funding innovative ideas Research on digital gamesWHY FUND shows that they can influenceSOCIALIMPACT behaviorGAMES? Knight wanted to see if the same was true for games that took place in the real-world, in real- time with real-people
Funded two pilot projects: Macon Money in Macon, GA Battlestorm in Biloxi, MSWHY FUND – Knight partnered with localSOCIAL partners on a game thatIMPACTGAMES? promotes the importance of hurricane preparedness through activities focused on youth as leaders.
More than 3,500 unique players. About one in five players played the game more than once.AT A GLANCE $65,000 was distributed to players to spend at 41 local businesses. The top-earning business made more than $12,000
A MACON-CENTRICINTEGRATEDSTRATEGYGamedesigners usedimages fromlocal partnersand from thecity’s history
HOW TO PLAY THE GAMEMatch your bondhalf with anotherplayer, redeemit for MaconMoney bills andspend them inlocal businesses Watch a video of how to play: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OT91aQTFHiY
Players used social networks (offline and online) to engage others in the game and meet new people.Key Findings: 66% of matches were withEngagedResidents/ people players did not previouslyCreated knowSocialConnections 63% of matches were with people the player would be “very unlikely” to meet otherwise.
Players played regularly with a group, such as friends, colleagues or people at churchKey Findings:EngagedResidents/CreatedSocialConnections
Relatively few strong ties created – only1 in 5 matches led to further personal contact, and only 15% of those became friends on FacebookKey Findings:EngagedResidents/CreatedSocialConnections
Players continued to return to businesses they visited during the game – 46% reported they spent Macon Money at a business that was new to them, andKey Findings: of those, 92% reported they haveCatalyzed returned to a business that was new toEconomic themDevelopment – More than 85% of players surveyed said their perception of shops, parks and other amenities in the target revitalization area improved since playing the game
Game created sense of excitement about Macon and increased optimism about Macon’s futureKey Findings: – Positive correlation betweenContributed to number of times played gamePlace and agreement withAttachment/ “the energy and appeal of the CHC/DowntownBuilt Social Macon area is on the rise.”Capital “Macon is becoming a more welcoming place for young adults to live. “ “5 years from now, Macon will be an even better place to live”.
Key Findings: Majority of players would recognizeContributed toPlace their matches and say “hi” on the streetAttachment/Built SocialCapitalFamiliar facesin ourenvironmentcontribute to asense of placeand belonging
Create synergies by building on existing revitalization efforts and events Combine diverse value propositions for players withBEST different or evolving interestsPRACTICES:Game Design Combine online and offline elements to meet players where they are most comfortable interacting – Explore use of social media to create longer lasting connections
Build in strategies so that bills are spent equitably within target area of local businesses – Encourage use of social media by businessesBEST Mobilize local business owners toPRACTICES: invest in gameGame Design Experiment with mechanics that encourage looser or stronger connections between players
Target outreach to highly networked players Right-sizing: Macon Money best suited to small cities or neighborhoodsBESTPRACTICES: Right-timing: Game should beImplementation played intermittently, not continuously Get city involved in game promotion
Games like Macon Money need to reinforce other efforts and be part of a larger context. Tap into existing networks and infrastructure Keep your project grounded in the community you are serving from development through implementation.KEY Be open to changes that help fixTAKEAWAYS unanticipated bugs in the game’s design or implementation. Have an “open-source” mindset and be prepared to let go when the game shows signs of having a life of its own.
Game designers produced documentation designed to help anyone interested in creating future iterations of MaconMACONMONEY Money in their communityIn Your Town Link: http://www.maconmoney.org/in_your_town
Please visit:MOREON KNIGHT Knightfoundation.org/gamesAND GAMES
Methodology: – Pre- and post-game interviews with Knight Foundation, Area / Code, and community partners – In-depth interviews with 26 players – Results of pre- and post-game playerEVALUAITON survey (n-757)AND – Area / Code bond tracking data, analysisASSESSMENT of game website and Facebook traffic – Participant observation of game-related events – Focus group interviews and surveys with participating businesses