Problem with Climate Hawks

Climate change has a PR problem. It’s true. The spokespeople for climate change often feel like they’re preaching to the choir, or in a language few understand. While Bill McKibben’s writing is great, he’s still writing for a pretty intelectual audience about some pretty heavy science. Al Gore has been most successful at opening up the discussion from the movie An Inconvenient Truth, which was a call to action in lecture format. While it did well for a documentary, calling an issue as complex as climate change a moral imperative isn’t exactly actionable mass-market material (especially from a left wing politician).

This is where I come in. I’ve spent my whole career trying to make something for a niche audience and take it mass market. When we started PopCap, video games pretty much fell into the 15-24 year old male demographic. Sure, Nintendo skewed a bit younger, but for the most part, gaming was for 15% of the population. Thanks to innovations on the Internet and the advent of new platforms, we helped lead the wave of gaming for the masses. Twelve years later, most everyone plays games whether on Facebook, the web, or on your phone.

We didn’t succeed by making pandering games. We took game concepts that we loved and spent a whole lot of effort, energy and craft to make that fun accessible for everyone, even if the player had never played any games before. That’s what climate hawks need to figure out. Their message is good. The content is there. It’s just completely inaccessible, and as I’ve learned in games, something inaccessible is pretty much by definition unappealing.

 

 

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  1. Well done John, I play games online, on Wii and a few other formats. I am trying to bridge a gap that sounds similar to yours. I am thinking of families. Everyday families who would like to do more together, but find more and more they are living in different worlds. This means they have less and less in common and little to talk about.

    Services for relationship building are usually aimed at a high level corporate or international market, or for families at risk. I want to find activities that are inclusive for my ordinary family and it it my hunch lots of other families may need the same.

    I am worried about the impact of all of us being entertained separately, rather than together. There is some interesting research on the repercussions of this done by ‘The Relationship Foundation’. Do you have any suggestions?

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