This new social game is partnered with a foundation that restores eyesight to the poor. By making in-game purchases, any player of the game has a real impact on lives around the world.
A newcomer to the social gaming scene, Karma Kingdom, is integrating charitable work within a Facebook game. Asvathaa, developer of the game, has partnered with The Sankara Eye Foundation to use half of profits from this game to restore vision to the poor. Karma Kingdom draws upon Indian mythologies and provides players with positive lessons that, as they put it, allow them to create a better world within the game and outside of it.
Using the virtual economy for social good
There have been other initiatives from social game developers to use their platforms for social good purposes. Zynga ran a few social good campaigns – for instance the Pizza Hut campaign to fight hunger. But Karma Kingdom is the first social game to be entirely developed to serve a social cause. Asyathaa utilizes the existing virtual economy of social gaming to serve social good. The game’s business model is a classic one: users purchase virtual goods, power ups and other play-enhancing tools. But the players are always reminded of the direct impacts of their purchases. One of the operations that The Sankara Eye Foundation's Hospitals have developed is a cataract correction surgery for thirty dollars. At such a low cost for a sight-restoring procedure, it is easily possible for a player in the US, or another of the dozen participating countries to crucially impact multiple lives for the better.
Leveraging social gaming and virality for “personal CSR”
Karma Kingdom leverages classic social game mechanics – interactivity, sociability and virality – to raise awareness as well as as increasing the likelihood of encouraging a viral game. The game is spread by the collection of “neighbors,” or other friends signing up and connecting with the player, often in order to help each other with item collecting or quests. Asvathaa hopes that adding this new playing experience and the game’s inherent values to classic gaming elements players are familiar with will work together to effect change. A lot of actors have been trying to leverage game mechanics for other purposes than pure entertainment – serious gaming and educational games for instance. With Karma Kingdom, Asvathaa also wants to show that virtual environments can be places for private individuals (or corporate companies) to be socially responsible: “We want to offer a personal CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) platform for every individual as the desire to give back exists in each one of us”, said Founder and CEO of Asvathaa Ashok Desai.