A rank-sustaining mobile game needs solid liveops that often includes a variety of in-game events. As we all know, there are plenty of ways and reasons to hold an event.
For example, promotional collaboration events are great in introducing the game to new audiences and giving a good spike in revenue. We recently covered some of the most unbelievable collaboration events from Japan and China, and a year ago, we discussed what needs to be considered in a well-functioning collaboration event.
Seasonal events are always a great chance to introduce something exciting for a limited time. Winter holidays and summer beach vacations are probably the most obvious ones, but depending on your audience, it might be smart to consider some local ones like Thanksgiving for the US, Singles day for China, or White Day for Japan. For more on these types of events, check out our blog post covering Seasonal events.
But today, we will be covering a more noble cause to have special content in the game: Charity work. With COVID-19 still very much rampant, climate change fueling more devastating natural disasters, and plastic polluting oceans, there are plenty of causes to support. And we just barely scratched the surface on the list of potential causes. So let’s dive in and see which games have done these kinds of events, what they included, and what cause they have brought to our attention.
Sky: Children of the Light
We begin with a game that provides us with multiple examples. Sky: Children of the Light has on numerous occasions introduced limited-time accessories. The most recent one was in April 2021, when the game introduced two ocean-themed accessories that could be bought with real money. Half of the proceedings were directed to charities clearing oceans from plastic waste.
Before that, they had already raised over $1 million for Doctors Without Borders in May 2020 to combat the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The limited-time IAP offer for that cause included a cosmetic item and some premium currency.
Around the same time, in April 2020, they were also focusing attention on reforestation. Thanks to the players purchasing a special limited-time IAP offer for a decorative cape, thatgamecompany helped non-profit organization One Tree Planted plant 40,000 trees.
We’re overwhelmed by the generosity of the #thatskygame community to come together to support our Days of Healing and Nature events:
— Sky: Children of the Light (@thatskygame) July 28, 2020
Angry Birds 2
The Angry Birds were also paying attention to reforestation efforts. Angry Birds 2 held an event in October 2020 in which the player base was collectively attempting to pop 6,5 billion pigs. A Special Park Ranger hat was available for players, and the birds wearing it could participate in special Embrace your Nature levels for additional rewards. The event directed players’ attention to the Trillion Tree Campaign of the United Nations.
The focus on the forests doesn’t end there. While devastating wildfires were ravaging Australia, the people at Supercell prepared a special skin that players could buy to support efforts fighting the wildfires. The skin features the character Nita who is always accompanied by her bear friend Bruce. The skin has a koala theme instead of the usual bear, and Bruce is even wearing a firefighter uniform. Supercell made “a donation to charitable causes dealing with the wildfires in Australia, matching 100% of the net proceeds of all Koala Nita sales until the end of 03/2020.” (Source)
Let’s move from Koalas to Pandas. In March 2021, Azur Lane held an event with WWF to protect Pandas, bring awareness, and raise funds for nature conservation. The event featured panda-themed character skins and collaboration furniture. The developer Yostar “supported WWF’s conservation efforts by donating USD 100,000”. (Source)
最强蜗牛 (The Marvelous Snail)
The final entry in this blog post is a lighter cause with no imminent threat to nature or living creatures. This time the cause is not a disaster or extinction but preserving history. Chinese game called 最强蜗牛 (The Marvelous Snail) collaborated with Sanxingdui Archeological Museum of Sichuan province back around August 2020. The event included an IAP offer with special event items, and the profits went to funding the museum.
To wrap it up
These were some of the examples of how developers have supported charitable causes through their mobile games. The overall approach has been to include an IAP Offer for a cosmetic item with the charitable cause communicated to the players. It will be interesting to see if these events become more common and if there will be new innovations on how they are held.