Make the world a better place while gaming!

That video games are no longer toys for geeks is a development we have seen all around us. Especially in the mobile market we see casual games targeted at all demographics, where the real popular ones can go viral within moments. Trivia Crack is such an example for me, it may have only been weeks ago that only a handful of people were enjoying trivia games in their spare time. Now, the last time I checked my Trivia Crack account, 178 of my Facebook friends had already been using the app! Mobile gaming is apparently hot, and a little surprisingly, so are trivia games.

An interesting concept making smart use of this trend is the newly launched Givling, a mobile game with a broader vision than your average Angry Birds or Candy Crush. A company daring to ask a rather atypical question. What if actual real-world problems could be tackled by playing a simple online trivia game?

Student debt in the US have topped 1.2 trillion dollars and there is little hope for improvement anytime soon. This is the problem the California based start-up Givling now tries to address with its neat little concept. Players of the Givling game are matched up with two other random team mates to form a ‘Funding team’ of three. For 50 cents a round, players gain various trivia questions and can accumulate points doing so. Every day at noon, a daily cash payout will be done to the best performing team. The rest of the accumulated funds will be saved and used to help US students pay off their student loans. Students may apply online to get their student debt paid off through Givling, after which they will be randomly placed somewhere in the ‘Givling Queue’. When the top of the queue is reached, their loan is to be paid off next.

Combining gaming with crowdfunding to tackle a nationwide and growing problem? I must admit, an ambitious and creative endeavor! We must however note that the game has just freshly launched and admit that so far, only 10.000 dollar in total has been collected. Whether or not Givling may actually help solve problems on a large scale, we should give praise to them for approaching online gaming in a new way. Integrating the social aspect of helping out other students while at the same time offering a shot on making some cash, brings greater purpose as well as meaningful competition to the platform. Will enough funders join the project? Well, Agrawal et al. (2013) note how funders in crowdfunding initiatives are not only driven by personal gain, but also by a sense of community participation and, surprisingly, a sense of philanthropy. If Givling manages to successfully tap into these two motivational drivers, the app could really start to make an impact.

So what do you think.. Could social crowdfunding through means of online gaming actually turn out to be the next big thing? And would you participate in such a competition? Why (not)? [accessed: 2-5-2015] [accessed: 2-5-2015] [accessed: 2-5-2015] [accessed: 2-5-2015]

Agrawal et al. (2013) “Some Simple Economics of Crowdfunding,” National Bureau of Economic Research

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