Kids helping kids in a virtual space: Hospitopia
Here at AvatarGeneration, we are always interested in new and unique kids virtual worlds and social games. We came across Hospitopia, a Facebook application that allows players to create and operate their own virtual hospital, while generating real funds to help sick children around the USA. We were interested in finding out more about the application, and spoke to Scott Loyola, CMO of CausePlay, to tell us a little bit about this charitable virtual game.
What’s different about Hospitopia?
Hospitopia is the first social game to fully integrate a charitable partner into our mission and game play. We will donate 10% of all game revenue to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals to further their mission.
What type of kids are your target audience?
The average player in the social gaming space is a 43 year old female, yet we are finding that kids in the 8-15 age range are playing Hospitopia or helping their parents perform daily game tasks.
What gaming features are you using in-world?
Hospitopia encourages players to perform simple tasks with high frequency to promote syndication of messaging to their Facebook friends. Players earn points by cleaning hospital rooms, playing mini-games, healing kids and sending them home.
Are there any safety features in the game?
Facebook provides the platform that all social games reside on, and it has proven to be a safe environment for those kids whose parents who already support their participation on Facebook.
Do you have any educational content?
The game is in its early stages and a number of enhancements will come online over the life of the game. Currently a player can see what sickness a child has in the game, and how long it takes to cure this patient. While this is fiction, of course, the diseases are real and it gives players a chance to manage “operations” based on how long it will take to cure someone, and “earn” game points. There are other mini-games that are tactical and logic based games that we believe offer good value to younger players
Are there any classroom resources?
Currently these do not exist yet we have discussed developing some mini games within Hospitopia that will provide access to resources throughout the environment.
How much does it cost to become a member?
As with all Facebook games, there is no cost to play. The game play is free, yet like other Facebook games you can purchase in-game points and virtual goods to enhance the game play environment. But kids, ask your parents first!
What is your company background?
CausePlay was founded in late 2009 to enhance the social gaming environment by adding a cause related marketing element (NPO) and other tactics like brand integrations and video. Hospitopia is our first game but we have others in various stages of development with NPO’s either identified or committed to be our partners.
How long did it take to build?
From concept to buildout, the game took about four months. It then took another eight weeks to work out the “bugs” which every game developer has to contend with. It comes with the territory.
What platform are you using for the technology?
The game resides on the Facebook platform and they offer two API’s; Rest(fql) and Graph API.
Are you involved in any product / marketing campaigns?
We have two partners in the game currently, Jumbies and Identity Guard. Jumbies is a plush toy company and they are involved in all aspects of the game to branding, mini-games, and promotion. Identity Guard also has a mini-game and is branded throughout our gifting area. Currently there is a promotion running for the hospital that generates the most players (each month) will win 50 Jumbies for their hospital. These serve as nice giveaways in the Pediatrics Dept.
Do you have any future plans for the world?
The game will continue to evolve and new mini-games will launch, more promotions will appear and players will find ways to level up so they can create the biggest and best hospital in Hospitopia. But, I can’t tell you what those are or I would ruin the surprise!
And finally, Why should kids visit Hospitopia?
Kids have many choices today in gaming and many more ways to occupy their time with sports, clubs and educational commitments. We think that Hospitopia is a great way for kids to understand that sick kids aren’t weird kids. We purposely don’t change their look when they are sick as opposed to when they are cured. We have had great feedback from our players, with kids messaging us that they think “kids helping kids is cool.”
Its a fun and uplifting environment that encourages players to help kids get better and get picked up by the Identity Guard helicopter and fly home! It also teaches them responsibility in a fun and engaging environment. Rooms need to be cleaned in periodic intervals and once cleaned, players receive points for completing the action. This reward mechanism repeats itself in all areas of the game, and kids can update their friends on their hospital, or ask for help to complete an action.
It’s a wholesome game, and it helps to teach kids that charity and helping others can be as simple as playing a game!