“Games give us a way to try on different identities, different roles, different goals, and different challenges. They offer a chance to collaborate and compete, experiment and explore, and test our skills and our creativity. In short, games give us the tools we need to become the best version of ourselves.”
– Jane McGonigal
The term “Impact Investing” is often used synonymously to ESG (Environmental, Societal and Governance) companies. As impact investing gains traction among investors looking to make a difference, many still see it as a niche market, focused on traditional sectors like renewable energy and microfinance. But what about gaming? While it may not be the first thing that comes to mind when we think of impact investing, gaming has a huge potential to drive social change and create positive impact.
Take Toya, a Remagine Ventures portfolio company, for example. A female-led gaming studio, Toya creates experiences for girls in the Metaverse starting with Roblox. Their most recent game, Super U Story, is a role playing game dedicated to growing girls’ self-esteem and body image.
Minecraft is another great example. Minecraft is popular sandbox game that has been used as an educational tool to teach STEM subjects and develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills. By providing an engaging and interactive learning experience, the game has the potential to support quality education.
Pokèmon Go is yet another game that has contributed to social impact. The popular augmented reality game has been credited with promoting physical activity and encouraging players to explore their local communities. By promoting outdoor activity and raising awareness of local landmarks and attractions, the game has the potential to support sustainable cities and communities.
These are just a few examples of the ways in which gaming can drive social change and create positive impact. I tried to make the case more concrete by tying up the impact that games can have on the UN’s SDGs. Sounds like a stretch? Let’s look at other concrete examples.
Gaming companies can improve the UN’s SDGs
|SDG||Game||Example of how the game helps improve the SDG for the world|
|3 (Good health and well-being)||Sea Hero Quest||Promotes brain health and contributes to research on dementia (see research by Alzheimer Research UK)|
|3 (Good health and well-being)||Minecraft||Can teach important skills and promote mental health (see research by NIH)|
|4 (Quality education)||Minecraft||Used as an educational tool to teach STEM subjects and develop problem-solving skills|
|11 (Sustainable cities and communities)||Pokèmon Go||Promotes physical activity and encourages players to explore their local communities|
|12 (Responsible consumption and production)||Stardew Valley||Promotes sustainable farming practices and environmental stewardship|
|13 (Climate action)||Fate of the World||Encourages players to make decisions about how to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions|
|14 (Life below water)||Beyond Blue||Raises awareness of marine conservation and the importance of protecting ocean ecosystems|
|15 (Life on land)||Never Alone||Promotes understanding and appreciation of Indigenous cultures and their relationship with the natural world|
|Autism and Mental Health||Minecraft||Can help children with autism develop social skills and improve their communication, and has been credited with promoting mental health during difficult times|
|Empowerment and Entrepreneurship||Roblox||Empowers young people to become creators and entrepreneurs, allowing them to develop and monetize their own games and experiences|
Making the case for gaming as an impact investment
But why should impact investors care about gaming? Because the gaming industry is huge and growing, and has the potential to create both financial returns and social impact. With 3.09 billion gamers in the world, gaming is the most popular form of entertainment for anyone 50 and below in the US alone. According to a report by Newzoo, the global games market is expected to exceed $200 billion in 2023. This represents a massive opportunity for investors looking to make a difference.
The gaming industry is uniquely positioned to create positive social impact. Games have the power to educate, raise awareness, and change behaviour. They can be used to promote physical activity, mental health, and environmental stewardship. They can help people develop important skills and promote social interaction.
In short, gaming should be considered a key part of impact investing. While it may not be the first thing that comes to mind when we think of social impact, the potential for positive change in the gaming industry is enormous. By investing in games that create social impact, investors can achieve both financial returns and a more sustainable future.
At Remagine Ventures, we always look for ‘double bottom line’ businesses that have the potential to become successful businesses but also create a positive impact.