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CoronaCombat - The COVID19 Game

CoronaCombat is a game that raises awareness around COVID19

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On April 10th GRID - Gaming Revolution for Inspiring Development launched "CoronaCombat", a digital game that raises awareness and provides accurate information on the new coronavirus and related COVID-19 disease. The game not only provides players with useful and reliable information but also empowers them to question misinformation. The player goes through a fact-seeking, myth-busting journey aimed at combating the new coronavirus, all while having a great time! 

What is the need are you focusing on?

COVID-19 has quickly evolved into the greatest public health challenge of our generation. Education, awareness and provision of accurate information are powerful tools to prevent its spread. Public awareness of infectious diseases plays an important role in disease control; a lack of reasonable knowledge of infectious diseases leads to low detection rates, the interruption of treatment, discrimination and stigma. The coronavirus outbreak sparked what the World Health Organization called an "infodemic" — an overwhelming amount of information on social media and websites. CoronaCombat tackles this infodemic in a fun and engaging way. 

Which type of submission are you sharing?

  • Sharing an actual pivot your organization has already made

Describe the business pivot or adaptation in 3-4 sentences.

CoronaCombat has been created by GRID - Gaming Revolution for Inspiring Development, an award-winning, social-impact gaming-studio that develops games for positive behavior change. CoronaCombat builds on GRID’s experience of creating digital games to inspire meaningful behavioral change in a fun and interactive way, especially among the bottom billion. Given the interactive, iterative, and inspiring nature, games appeal to the human psychology in a way most other communication tools do not and their impact on our brains far transcends the boundaries of the virtual world. The game is financed entirely through GRID’s own internal funds and will serve as a first step towards a suite of mini-games (in several languages) that can raise awareness around COVID19. In the first two weeks of its launch, CoronaCombat was played 500 times with no marketing budget. The prototype version of the game is available at coronacombat.gamingfordev.com.

Do you plan to implement this solution?

  • I plan to share with an implementing organization

Describe the impact that this solution will create in the world.

Think Pokemon Go for COVID19 awareness, a game that had youth around the world chasing a shared goal. CoronaCombat has the potential to mobilize people on a large scale and have them playing together to fight the spread of the COVID19 pandemic. In the first 3 months, we hope to reach 10,000 people. Over 2020, we hope to expand CoronaCombat's reach to 100,000 across 5 different countries of which at least 3 will be developing countries. Games are uniquely positioned to raise awareness around covid19 due to the following reasons: • Games provide a fun and engaging platform to raise awareness without sparking fear and engaging an audience that is not keen on reading scientific language. • Games provide a safe space for players to see the long term consequences of their current actions and hence support them with the information needed for smart decision making.

What is the name of your business or organization?

GRID - Gaming Revolution for Inspiring Development

What is your profession?

Founder and Director of GRID, International Development Professional

Where are you located (country)?

USA

Where are you located (region)?

  • North America

What industry is your business/company in?

  • Education
  • Healthcare/Medical
  • Technology

How many people does your business/company employ?

  • 0-10

How old is your business/company?

  • 2-5 years old

Which classification describes your organization/business?

  • Nonprofit/NGO

What kind of stakeholders and partnerships are needed to pursue this solution?

  • Funding- Grants
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- NGOs
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- Private Sector
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- Government
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- Civil Society Groups
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- Grassroots/Community Groups

Do you need help building partnerships and finding partners?

  • Yes

If Yes to the above, please share 1-2 sentences describing the specific help you desire.

We are currently looking for content, funding and implementation partners who can support us in expanding, translating, disseminating and scaling up CoronaCombat. The game design can be expanded to include: 1. Prevention, hygiene, detection and self-quarantine tips through interactive simulations and game play 2. Link players to sources of accurate information about the virus. 3. Simulate the scale of the issue, rapid contagion and risk communication

What do you think are the main barriers to implementing this solution?

Our goal is to scale CoronaCombat globally. With expansion comes risks associated with investments in research, development, and testing of the games in new contexts. We will proceed cautiously, but continuously learning from our experiences. Some funders/partners have voiced equity concerns around the reach of mobile games since there are areas with smartphone penetration. While we fully acknowledge this concern and encourage hybrid (digital + face to face) approached of raising awareness in this case, we do know that smartphone penetration will continue to rise and it will be a lost opportunity to not act until there is 100% coverage.

If you are currently working on a pivot, what have you learned so far?

One interesting setback that we have faced with the launch of CoronaCombat was that neither Google nor Apple are accepting apps related to covid19 unless they are from large health orgs such as WHO. While this an admirable effort to curb misinformation, it is proving to be a major challenge for indie developers working on digital tools for covid19. There is a lot of buzz around this topic in the app development community with little direction or response from either the health orgs or Google or Apple. This reflects a systemic disconnect: Tech entrepreneurs are being encouraged to developed digital solutions to help with the crisis but the last mile is broken and solutions cannot be deployed. We overcame this challenge by launching a web based version of our app at coronacombat.gamingfordev.com. However, for ideal dissemination, we are exploring collaborations that can allow us to publish through Google and Apple.

Are you aware of any open source efforts, hackathons or other collaborative efforts related to your solution? Are you participating in these efforts?

We are participating in the COVID Accelerator (on slack). https://covidaccelerator.com/

Website URL

www.gamingfordev.com

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