Zig Zag Zoom is a shiny new mobile games publisher that’s just been unveiled by industry veterans from Disney Interactive, EA, Activision, Konami and Nintendo.
Founders Thomas Kang (CEO), David Moon (COO), and John Pleasants (Chairman) were all formerly executives at Disney Interactive.
Their new venture, Zig Zag Zoom, has been founded with a core premise that time spent playing the company’s game should benefit charitable organisations around the world.
Zig Zag Zoom games - which use the company's mobiliz3 platform - turns the minutes players spend in game into a form of currency, which can then be spent on causes, such as re-planting trees after deforestation.
Stacking up points
“It helps to think of it like an airline’s frequent flier program,” Kang told PocketGamer.biz at GDC 2015.
“The more you play a game, the more impact points you accrue. You can then spend those impact point on causes that are important you. It’s doing good, but we’re an entertainment-first company, so it’s also fun.”
For example, in our demo of Tree Story, cultivating and growing a virtual tree on your smartphone results in a real-world one being planted.
Over the course of a few days, you nurture a seedling into a fully flourished tree that you can then send off to a virtual forest.
Once you’ve done so, Zig Zag Zoom’s partners at the US Forest Service, Project Learning Trees, ACTrees, and the Arbor day Foundation will plant a real one for you – and keep you updated on its progress.
There are six other games in the pipeline with similar philanthropic twists, three of which are from third-party studios.
LA-based Zig Zag Zoom’s mission statement is to entertain, connect and empower players to do good – and that is certainly good business.
The company cited a Nielsen global survey that found 55 percent of respondents were more willing to pay more for products and services from companies that were committed to positive social and environmental impact.
The company has also secured strategic financing from Chinese publiser iDreamSky.