Electronic Arts and BP have collaborated to include climate change education within SimCity Societies, the next iteration of the city-building game. BP’s logo appears in the game as a provider of alternative energy.
BP engineers consulted with EA programmers in designing the power and pollution models in the games and in attempting to make them reflect real trade-offs.
The least expensive and most readily-available buildings in the game are also the biggest producers of carbon dioxide. if players choose to build cities dependent on these kinds of sources for power to conserve their in-game money, their carbon ratings will rise and, at reaching critical levels, the game will issue alerts about the threat of the various natural disasters like droughts, heat waves and others that may strike their cities.
Alternatively, players can create a greener environment and avoid hazards caused by excessive carbon emissions by choosing from a variety of BP Alternative Energy low-carbon power options like hydrogen, natural gas, wind farms and solar power.
That, according to The New York Times, is a wrinkle in the game’s marketing. Relatively clean systems like wind farms, natural gas plants and solar farms are branded with the BP logo, while the dirty options like coal are not. Gas stations in the game also carry the BP brand.
BP paid Electronic Arts to have its logo included in the game, though they would not disclose the amount. BP will also help distribute a demonstration version of the game online and possibly at BP gas stations.
“The time was right for this partnership. EA was developing the next iteration of the SimCity series at the same time that we were looking for opportunities to raise awareness about low-carbon power choices,” said Carol Battershell, Vice President, BP Alternative Energy.