(Mis)Uses of Technology

by Daniel DiPasquo

Filed Under:
energy, simcity, video games

bp, ea

Another Big Energy Company Playing Video Games With Climate Change

from the please-don't-blow-it dept

As posted today on BoingBoing, the upcoming release of SimCity Societies asks game players to consider how their city-building choices affect (virtual) climate change. Upping the ante on Chevron's online game Energyville, Societies was developed in collaboration with BP, nee British Petroleum. By piggybacking on the success of the SimCity franchise, BP will gain access to a much larger audience than Chevron's strategy of hoping users find its standalone game. While their stated goal of raising awareness of climate change issues and energy alternatives is admirable, BP's in-game branding smacks more of marketing than of educating. The real missed opportunity, however, would be if BP just uses the game to talk at players, even if what they have to say is informative. The SimCity community is one of the oldest and biggest "connected" communities around, and the very nature of the game brings together millions of individuals who enjoy solving problems. Rather than creating a glorified brochure, BP should leverage their participation in the game to foster a conversation between the company and individuals. That could mean allowing players to provide feedback on their experiences with in-game climate change or even (at the player's discretion) sending back entire game-play sequences that could be compiled and dissected by the company. BP, which faces changing realities of the energy industry, would do well to consider that they might learn more by listening to their customers than by telling their customers what the company already thinks. No such intent is obvious from what BP is saying about the game, but maybe we'll be pleasantly surprised.

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  • identicon
    Sean, 11 Oct 2007 @ 5:19pm

    What were you thinking

    BP tries to put on a green face when just this summer they were trying to dump pollution in Lake Michigan. This finally was stopped after all the publicity at Lollapalooza this year with lead singer of Pearl Jam, Eddie Vetter starting a protest song "Don't go BP Amoco" and groups working for signatures to petition the plan.


    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Oct 2007 @ 5:19pm

    Although the dim-wit mods will soon delete it, I'm first!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Guy Number 5, 11 Oct 2007 @ 6:34pm

    Guess what...

    I'm fifth!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    _Jon, 12 Oct 2007 @ 5:15am


    I've played every SimCity / Tower / Ant / Farm game Maxis has released. I've enjoyed them all. I think 3000 was the best.

    This 'direction' that the game is taking has me doubting I will buy it. I've seen other commentary that it moves away from some of the core elements to make it more 'mainstream'.

    Good luck with that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jared, 12 Oct 2007 @ 5:55am

    At least they're putting this Climate Change nonsense where it belongs: In a fictional world. As for poster number 1, if BP has indeed cancelled their plans to increase refinery output which would have resulted in increased disposal into lake michigan, the tree hugging idiots behind it should be forced to pay for the increased gas costs for the rest of us. The increases they proposed were still well within the EPA limits which i'm sure went unmentioned by those opposing it. I for one was thrilled with the idea of them increasing their refinery output. Too bad the hippies don't actually want a solution to the high energy prices.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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