Ecotopia Invites Players to Help Change the World One Tree at a Time

6/22/2011

Socially Conscious Facebook Game, in Conjunction with Conservation International, Presents the “Plant a Real Forest Challenge,” Transcending Virtual Actions to Real World Impact

Los Angeles / New York – In an effort to demonstrate how online games can effect positive change in the real world, independent games studio Talkie leveraged its presence at the annual Games for Change Festival to issue a challenge to fans of its eco-friendly social game, Ecotopia™ to plant 25,000 trees in-game in 25 days or less. If the challenge is met, Talkie committed to planting 25,000 trees in the real world, potentially removing more than one thousand tons of CO2 and 100,000 pounds of ozone from the atmosphere. Players can visit http://facebook.com/ecotopia today through July 15, 2011, to participate and do their part to improve the environment. 

“Our goal for Ecotopia is to create awareness, engagement and activism within our community and beyond,” said Chris Swain, founder and CEO of Talkie, and a professor and research institute director at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, Interactive Media Division. “Deforestation releases nearly two billion tons of carbon dioxide each year, meaning the destruction of the world’s forests harms not only local communities, but Earth as a whole. With the help of our fans this challenge will allow us to make a larger global impact, working toward a positive change through attainable actions in-game.”

Talkie developed Ecotopia in association with Conservation International (CI), a global non-profit organization that leverages strategic partnerships to protect and sustainably manage nature for the long term benefit of people. 

“Everyone has a stake in the health of the natural world, and each of us has a role to play in protecting nature,” said Mark Phillips, Conservation International Senior Vice President for Marketing and Communications. “No one individual or organization has the capacity to meet the challenges we’re facing today, which is why Conservation International makes partnership the hallmark of our work. People need nature to thrive, and collaborating with Talkie on Ecotopia provides a great opportunity to engage a wide audience to help protect the ecosystems that sustain us all.”

Ecotopia, a free-to-play Facebook game with a social conscience, advances the popular city-building game model as it aims to wrap fun and compelling gameplay with philanthropy and real-world involvement via the world’s largest social networking site. Ecotopia is the first social game to encourage and empower users to conduct environmental good in the real world which can be redeemed for rewards in the game world.

In this eco-friendly heroes-versus-villains Facebook adventure, Ecotopia players begin with a dirty, uninhabitable environment and must generate resources by completing immersive in-game missions. Resources are then used to develop a colorful and exciting sustainable city that players can customize to create their own utopia. Players also can connect with their Facebook friends, sending gifts to each other and visiting neighboring maps to perform helpful actions. In a feature new to social gaming, players are heavily rewarded for performing real-world acts of sustainability and incorporating them into their Ecotopia gaming experience. Ecotopia has been embraced by a cross section of leading environmental organizations including:  Environment America, Surfrider, Environmental Media Association, Treepeople and many more.

Talkie is hosting the Plant a Real Forest Challenge in association with Trees for the Future, a highly respected agroforestry resource center working to improve livelihoods and restore degraded lands to sustainable productivity through planting beneficial trees. Since 1988, Trees for the Future has helped thousands of communities in Central America, Africa and Asia improve the environment by planting nearly 65 million trees. By the organization’s calculations, these trees remove more than one and a half million tons of CO2 from the atmosphere each year.

To sign up to participate in the “Plant a Real Forest Challenge” and to play Ecotopia, visit http://facebook.com/ecotopia. For more information on Ecotopia, please visit the Talkie official website.

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Contacts for press only:

For Talkie:
Racheal Caswell / Katie Gerber
Wonacott Communications, LLC
(310) 477-2871, Ext. 662 / 666
rcaswell@wonacottpr.com / kgerber@wonacottpr.com  

For Conservation International:
Kim McCabe, Media Director
Conservation International
(w) (703) 341-2546; (m)  (202) 203-9927
k.mccabe@conservation.org

About Talkie - Talkie is an independent studio creating a new breed of highly engaging cinematic, story-driven social games, founded in 2010 by CEO Chris Swain, a gaming industry pioneer, professor at University of Southern California and co-founder of the Electronic Arts Game Innovation Lab at USC, and Larry Bond, chairman of both Talkie and the Bond Companies. Talkie’s games feature state-of-the-art illustration and design and industry-leading gameplay mechanics designed to work across multiple social networks for a flexible, scalable gameplay experience. Talkie both creates its own games and licenses its technology platform to content owners world-wide, enabling the creation of branded social games based on original IP as well as existing entertainment properties. Talkie’s first social game, the eco-friendly Ecotopia, is available now on Facebook. For more information, please visit www.talkie.tv

About Conservation International (CI) - Building upon a strong foundation of science, partnership and field demonstration, CI empowers societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature, our global biodiversity, for the long term well-being of people. Founded in 1987, CI has headquarters in the Washington, DC area, and nearly 900 employees working in more than 30 countries on four continents, plus 1,000+ partners around the world. For more information, visit www.conservation.org, and follow us on Twitter: @ConservationOrg or Facebook: www.facebook.com/conservation.intl

About Trees for the Future - Headquartered in Silver Spring, Md. and founded in 1989, Trees for the Future is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization helping communities around the world plant trees. Through seed distribution, sustainable management and agroforestry training, and in-country technical assistance, it empowers rural groups worldwide to restore tree cover to their lands, protect the environment and help to preserve traditional livelihoods and cultures for generations. To learn more, visit: www.plant-trees.org

About Games For Change - Games for Change is the leading global advocate for supporting and making games for social impact. We bring together organizations from the social impact sector, government, media, academia, the gaming industry and the arts to grow the field, incubate new projects and provide an open platform for the exchange of ideas and resources.

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