Not Playing Around: How an Online Gaming Community Raised $10k for Snow Leopards
Playing OviPets, an online pet breeding & genetics game, hundreds of gamers have contributed to raising more than $10,000 for snow leopard conservation.
OviPets is an online pet game focused on genetics and breeding. In the world of OviPets, players are able to adopt, raise and care for pets, much like they would for live animals. There’s an important twist though: OviPets players can breed new pets according to the principles of genetics, which allows them to create new species and mutations of species in various colors and shapes.
Thousands of players have picked up the game since it was launched in 2012 – and they all share a love for animals. Maria Wallin and Andreas Bernhardsson, the directors of IdzTech, the company behind OviPets, saw an enormous potential in this community: “Our goal has always been to be able to give some real life help to animal species in need all across our planet. We want to make it easy for people to help, and what easier way then through playing a game that you like?”, Maria says.
Teaming up with the Snow Leopard Trust, OviPets launched a Charity Run, a special in-game feature where players were invited to turn a “Catus” a standard virtual feline species in the game, into a snow leopard – adding the black and white fur, larger paws and characteristic long tail of the “Ghost of the Mountain”, among other traits. The profit from the in-game credits players had to purchase in order to be able breed their own snow leopards would be donated to snow leopard conservation.
For non-gamers, most of this probably sounds pretty abstract; like a fantasy even. And we’ll admit it: When OviPets contacted us and offered to team up tor raise funds for the cats, our expectations were modest. Then again, even Maria Wallin herself didn’t dare to think of such an outcome. “This was our very first charity run”, says Maria Wallin, “and we couldn’t have dreamed about a more positive response from our players!” More than 200 players earned a special in-game badge of honor for their contributions, and many others helped.
While OviPets may be set in a virtual world, the result of the players’ passion is very real: In two weeks, the OviPets community raised a total of $10,234.67 for snow leopard conservation!