27 Jul/17

Video Games for Sustainability

Video Games for Sustainability
Video Games for Sustainability – EVS Translations

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by the 194 countries of the UN General Assembly in 2015, defined a set of 17 Global Goals to guide the work of the United Nations and its member countries towards sustainable social and environmental development. The Agenda is very ambitious, and one of the biggest obstacles is finding good practices to communicate its goals to the global audience.

Goal 4 calls for all learners acquiring the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development by 2030, along with new learning approaches to inspire self-motivated actions.

With nearly 2 billion people worldwide playing online games and research supporting the benefits of using gaming to enhance learning, video games come ahead as an innovative method to teach sustainability.

Unfortunately, educational video games are not among the preferred ones on a market dominated by shooting and racing games, and gamers who crave for dynamic scenarios with strong competitive elements.

And while big brands (for example, Heineken’s Brewing a Better World Digital Experience where users are faced with the challenge of balancing their will to compete with taking care of the world), and purpose-driven organisations (WWF’s Modern Mayor where players have to recreate a city and see how nature responds to their actions or UNESCO’s World Rescue, which takes players to Kenya, Norway, Brazil, India, and China to solve global environmental problems) have long used gaming experiences to engage players on various sustainability issues, the current challenge is to raise awareness on a global scale.

Currently, 2 billion gamers invest nearly 3 billion hours weekly in playing online games, with a very tiny share going to video games that promote sustainability. For example, looking at Block’hood – where players have to create an ecologically and socially sustainable city with a limited number of resources – the game has been released in English, French, German, Spanish, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian and Simplified Chinese languages, aiming to reach a broad audience, yet having merely 60 000 active players.

And here comes Jane McGonigal, a gaming academic and designer, exploring the role massive multiplayer online gaming can play on solving global problems, encouraging players to carry their methods of problem solving and epic wins through cooperation from MMOG to the real life.

And while her call, that in order to survive the next century the world needs to increase the amount of time invested in playing online games dramatically, might sound far radical, she definitely makes a point how collaborative video gaming could create positive outcomes in the real world.

In order to introduce sustainability concepts to the mass public in a way that it is not purely educational and considered boring, online game developers should ideally focus on creating dynamic multiplayer games, which stimulate gamers to tackle obstacles and solve complex problems through collaboration and knowledge sharing, yet rewarding players for their achievements, preserving a core competitive element, and offering plenty of entertainment.

We, at EVS Translations, believe that video games do have the potential to educate the public on finding solutions to social, economic and environmental problems; and on top of that are the ideal localisation expert for the gaming industry. Our in-house translators and IT specialists can offer you the technical expertise required for multi-language video game translation and localisation projects.

Do you have specific questions regarding the translation and localisation of your video game? EVS Translations looks forward to hearing from you.