Play Safe

Play Safe

India
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Promoting Safe Sex in a fun and interactive manner through our game- Play Safe.

About You
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Your idea
Year work began:

2007

Focus of activity

Other

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Plot your innovation within the mosaic of solutions
Which of these barriers is the primary focus of your work?

Insufficient Evidence that Games Improve Health

Which of the principles is the primary focus of your work?

Community Health

If you believe some other barrier or principle should be included in the mosaic, please describe it and how it would affect the positioning of your initiative in the mosaic:

People associate Gaming with 'negative'/ 'anti-social' expressions of violence and unhealthy competition without accepting games as a powerful medium for spreading Social Awareness.

Our game promotes Safe Sex, a global concern, and something that parents, governments, etc are always worried about. With teenage pregnancies on the rise and HIV/AIDS rearing its ugly head, safe sex has become even more important. That's our message and will position Zapak.com as a Socially Responsible game developer and publisher.

Innovation
What is your signature innovation in one sentence?

Promoting Safe Sex in a fun and interactive manner through our game- Play Safe.

Describe your innovation. What makes your idea unique and different than others doing work in the field?

Play Safe is a quirky and effective tool for promoting Safe Sex. It naturally targets the audience that is at maximum risk of being infected with AIDS, namely teenagers and young adults. As a game, Play Safe anchors the message of Safe Sex across 5 levels of increasing difficulty in a fun and comprehensive manner. Social Awareness messages are generally considered preachy. In contrast, Play Safe, being a game, approaches the subject in a friendly and humorous way, as the player's friend, rather than a moral science teacher.

Play Safe is a game where condoms have to be distributed to love-struck couples in a specific color coded order. Arrows guiding the condom packages on the conveyer belt have to be manipulated to target the condoms to the right receivers. Quirky, tongue in cheek slogans prompt the player to play better. These slogans are funny and informative and will definitely be shared by the player with his buddies.

What barriers exist that are creating the problem your innovation is hoping to address/change?

Sex education in India is rather undermined as anything to do with sex still holds a taboo status. To get the message across to young adults, we have to bypass the narrow mindset of the average Indian family.

Delivery Model: How do you implement your innovation and apply it to the challenge/problem you are addressing.

We had launched Play Safe on Zapak.com as a Valentine's Day Special. We'll be promoting it again on Decemeber 1st (World AIDS Day). The game will also circulate across Zapak.com in the course of the year.

Launched in November 2006, Zapak.com is today India's largest Casual Gaming portal with over 3 million registered users generating over 2 million page views everyday. The size and scale of operations enable Zapak.com to reach the target group in the most effective manner.

How do you plan to scale your innovation?

At the Game Development level, we'll be adding more scenarios to Play Safe as well translating the game into regional Indian languages.
From an alliances angle, we'll be tying up with an NGO to take this game to grassroot India for maximum reach.
On Zapak.com, Play Safe will be actively promoted on Valentine's Day and World AIDS Day as well as through the year. Zapak.com is considering launching a separate section of games for promoting Social Awareness.

Impact
Provide one sentence describing your impact.

3 million young adults potentially exposed to the message of Safe Sex in less than a year through Play Safe on Zapak.com.

What impact has your innovation had to date? Exactly who are the beneficiaries of your innovation?

Zapak.com has over 3 million registered users in the age group of 15 to 45 years. Play Safe was launched in February this year and has been actively promoted thereafter. Young adults have been coming to Zapak.com for their daily dose of fun and adrenalin rushes. Owing to Play Safe's addictive gameplay, it's been quite popular with the target group. The young adults in India find it difficult to discuss sex openly and are hence very naive about safety issues. Through Play Safe, they get to understand the concept of Safe Sex in a friendly and informative manner. Our efforts are only a drop in the ocean, but we believe in the power of interactivity and we know that even if a fraction of Indians are getting our message, they are definitely getting it right.

How many people have you served directly?

Over 5 lakh people have played the game on Zapak.com since launch in February 2007.

How many people have you served indirectly?

Over 3 million registered users of Zapak.com have been potentially exposed to Play Safe. The subject and treatment of the game lends it to viral proportions, encouraging others to experience it for themselves. The internet is a fantastic medium for viral promotions as it's simple and quick. The leaderboard system of top 10 highscores encourage the gamers to challenge each other in bettering their scores. Besides, the humor in the game is infectious as the catchphrases and condom slogans are finding their way into everyday vocabulary.

Please list any other measures reflective of the impact of your innovation

Zapak.com has pioneered new media communication and Play Safe is one of the innovations. It is too early to measure refective impact of Play Safe owing to the slow pace of internet penetration and gaming in grassroot India. However, feedback received on the game has been positive and at least some answers regarding safe sex have been addressed effectively.

What are the main barriers to creating your impact?

1. Social taboo regarding sex education and safety awareness
2. The gaming culture is fairly nascent in India and is only now being promoted by Zapak.com and its contemporaries
3. Low internet penetration in grassroot India

Sustainability
How is your initiative financed?

Through Zapak Digital Entertainment Limited.

Provide information on your finances and organization: annual budget, annual revenue, number of staff:

Zapak Digital Entertainment has 210 employees across various verticals as of September 2007. We are currently not at a liability to disclose more information as it falls in the realms of confidentiality.

What is the potential demand for your innovation?

3 million registered users of Zapak.com and the steadily growing user-base. We also currently work with over 45 leading brands who might want to kickstart their Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives with Zapak.com after seeing the potential and impact of a game like Play Safe.

What are the main barriers to financial sustainability?

This field has not been completed

The Story
What is the origin of this innovation? Tell us your story.

We saw a documentary on the spread of HIV and AIDS in the Indian sub-continent. The message was clear... many Indians were not familiar with the concept of safe sex. This was further highlighted by the recollection of one of our game designers who remembered how sex education class in his school had been cancelled due to 'unforeseen' circumstances. We recognized a spade for a spade and decided to reach the youngsters through a medium that they were familiar with... which also happened to be our favorite medium- Gaming, and that's how Play Safe came to be.

Please provide a personal bio. Note this may be used in Changemakers marketing material

Zapak Digital Entertainment Limited is a part of the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group and runs India's largest Casual Gaming Portal- Zapak.com with over 400 single-player, multiplayer and downloadable games.

Zapak.com has pioneered numerous new media innovations in India like Alternate Reality Games, Viral Campaigns and Multiplayer Advergames.

Zapak Digital Entertainment Limited has also initiated focused gaming cafes called Zapak Gameplex, across India.

How did you hear about this contest and what is your main incentive to participate? (this is confidential)

Direct outreach from a Changemakers or Ashoka Team member - Kalpana Kaul