09 September 2007

Welcome to Energyville!

Energyville is an online game that illustrates the challenges and complexities of meeting energy needs in a modern society. The game was developed by The Economist Group and hosted at willyoujoinus.com, a site run by Chevron.

UK-based communications consultant Neville Hobson describes the game this way:
The game makes you think about the issues surrounding energy usage, society’s needs, security, effects on the environment… indeed, all the hot issues surrounding the changes happening in our world and the impacts we have on our environment.

Energyville is cleverly conceived and implemented. It has credibility, both in the breadth and depth of content and the fact that The Economist is behind its development.

Where it really scores is in how it wraps all of this up and presents it in a highly entertaining way.

What would be great is if this online game were to be developed as a standalone, downloadable version and made available for a nominal cost if not for free. Then I think there would be real opportunities for enormous awareness-raising.

Anyway, have a go yourself and see if it impacts your thinking about our environment
willyoujoinus.com is a Chevron initiative designed to foster an online discussion about energy and environmental issues. The website is essentially conventional in many respects, although it apes the interactivity and language of Web 2.0 with terms like "post".

As Neville Hobson has pointed out in another post, a blog approach would have provided Chevron with a site that offers personality and authenticity. those are key factors in establishing credibility and credibility is one area where a website on energy and the environment may suffer when run by a major oil company.

As it is, the site includes e-cards, but the bulk of the site - aside from Energyville and the discussion forum are Chevron's standard advertising content supporting the initiative. lovely stuff, that it is, these traditional approaches won't succeed where a more up-to-date approach would likely have succeeded. In an online world where "go big or go home" is more likely get positive results, Chevron stuck with the same-old, same-old.

Still, willyoujoinus.com is a step in the right direction. Energyville in particular has bags of content that will be highly provocative. Having the game designed by The Economist helps significantly with its credibility. Just imagine the impact this site might have had if Chevron employees were able to speak directly about major issues they deal with each day.