If you’re going to waste your time playing games on Facebook, you might as well do it and help build a better world while you’re at it. That’s the promise, at least, of online entertainment company Sojo Studios, which is today debuting the preview of a Facebook game with a philanthropic twist called ‘WeTopia’.
Backed by a former key Facebook employee, Path CEO Dave Morin, and Esther Dyson – both are on the advisory board – Sojo Studios wants to entice online gamers to play WeTopia in order to develop a better world for children, both on Facebook and in the real world.
Here’s the pitch:
As players build and grow their WeTopia villages and help their neighbors, they earn currency called “Joy” which they can apply toward real-world projects: whether food, healthcare, education or other programs assisting children, both in the U.S. and other nations.
Players can choose specific beneficiaries to receive their Joy and track their contributions through pictures, videos and in-game messages.
WeTopia is free to play – players can also buy Facebook credits to spend in-game – but everyone can have a real-world impact simply by earning and spending Joy through game play.
Sojo Studios says it plans to make money through advertisers and sponsors as well as in-game purchases by players, with a mandate to donate 50 percent of the net profits (never less than 20 percent revenue) to its charity beneficiaries.
The company has scored a “long-term, exclusive partnership” with talk show host Ellen DeGeneres and “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”. The celebrity will be using her reach to provide marketing support for the WeTopia game, but also “provide creative input into the design of future games” according to a press release.
The company is also ‘affiliated’ with Warner Bros., but it’s unclear what that means, exactly.
Among Sojo Studios’ initial nonprofit partners are Save the Children, buildOn and Children’s Health Fund.
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