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“Honorable Mention” – World Bank award at the Apps for Development!

Last winter, Loes Vrielink and I participated to the “Apps for Development” competition – a contest launched by the World Bank.

Our project – Get a life – embraces the high potential that serious game and social network combined have to offer.
To do so, it mixes together data-visualization, the graphical language of games and the use of social networking.
Our main motivation was that games with the ability to entertain and to inform people could facilitate our understanding of the world and help for a smoother transition to the Globalization.

get a life with oddz official website get a life with oddz official website support us with your vote

The 10th of January was the deadline for the contest, and a few months later to our great surprise we heard we were nominated for a prize and were invited to demonstrate the prototype in Washington DC.

On the 14th of April 2011, we were awarded with an “honorable mention” for our submission at the competition and we received our prize, handed out by the World Bank’s president – Robert Zoellick – official press release.

World Bank – Interview:

What motivated you to enter the Applications for Development Contest?

Two years ago, in October 2009, I was employed by a games company in Amsterdam called Virtual Fairground.
There I was in a collaboration to develop a business strategy game for the intranet of Deloitte http://www.blog.elimak.com/2010/02/deloitte-game/. It was at that time that I started exploring the possibilities of including real data into a game environment, but soon realized that there was no API available for that.

A few months later, in spring 2010, I noticed that the UN had released an API with 30 sets of data. I requested a key, and did a few experiments with this resource. I was looking for a new set of data to be released when I discovered the API from the World Bank in September 2010. I was amazed by the quality and the quantity of the information supplied and knew right away that I would spend my spare time exploring this, looking for its application in multimedia.

When I heard of this competition, after having started my own company in spring 2010, I decided to dedicate some of my time to participating. As a developer, I really needed to be assisted by a skilled designer in order to get my ideas visualized and decided to contact a friend and former colleague at Virtual Fairground called Loes Vrielijk. She accepted and together we embarked on this journey that has now taken us further than we ever anticipated it would.

Why do you think that your application is unique?

What makes our application unique is the combination of data-visualization, the graphical language of the games and the use of the social network platform. Facebook, for example, has exploded in the past 3 years and opened up new ways of global communication in an extraordinary way. This also applies for gaming, which is one of the main activities on the web. We were therefore looking for ways to bring this statistical data into the social platform in an entertaining way.

Another possible extension of our experiment would be to use personal data from a Facebook profile to calculate that person’s “virtual score”. This could be generated by the games engine, putting virtual life and real life side by side.

What sort of change will happen because of your application?

We hope that more institution and corporation will embrace the high potential that serious game and social network combined have to offer.
According to AllFacebook, Feb. 2011:
53% of Facebook users play games.
69% of gamers are women.
20% have paid cash for in-game benefits.
56 million people play daily.
Average time spent per month on Facebook is above 7 hours.
Facebook has 500+ million users.

Games with the ability to entertain and to inform people could change the way we look at the world and help for a smoother transition to the Globalisation.
According to research, the virtual goods market will reach $2.1 billion in 2011 in the US alone. We do believe that games could help us solving issues and create more that awareness.

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