Social Gaming Companies Get Behind Offers for Pakistan’s Flood Victims

Peanut Labs, RockYou and Playdom and about a dozen other social gaming companies are banding together behind offers that let gamers donate to relief efforts for Pakistan’s flood victims. It’s not the first time that social gaming companies have experimented with charitable work; Zynga has offered branded virtual goods on behalf of Haitian earthquake and Gulf oil spill victims in the past, among other examples.

But it is the first time we’ve seen third-party offers attached to disaster relief. It’s also one of the more coordinated campaigns we’ve seen across the industry.

Called Points for Pakistan, the program quizzes gamers on their knowledge of the country’s floods in exchange for virtual currency and could reach up to 200 million unique players, if you total up the partners’ reach. At the end of the quiz, gamers get a handful of links to donation pages at The Red Cross and Oxfam.

The offers, led by Peanut Labs, essentially “prime” — or psychologically influence — social game players to think about or visualize suffering in Pakistan before asking them to donate. The surveys ask questions like whether gamers are aware of the crisis, how they learned about it through media sources or friends and whether they have donated already. The data collected from players’ answers will also go toward figuring out how to best inform the public about the crisis.

Some of the companies participating in Points for Pakistan, which include IMVU, Playspan, NHN USA/ijji, KlickNation, Nvinium Games, Roiworld, 101 Apps, Blue Frog Gaming, and Fish Wrangler, will either match donations, give directly to Oxfam and the Red Cross or create Pakistan-branded virtual goods.

Pakistan’s floods have affected 62,000 square miles of the country — an area that’s larger than the size of England and makes up one-fifth of the country. Some twenty million people have been displaced, but relief efforts and media attention haven’t really matched the levels Haiti attracted in the wake of its earthquake.

Peanut Labs’ chief executive, president and chief operating officer all come from Karachi, the country’s largest city and financial capital. They stepped up with a Facebook-based donation campaign last week that raised $55,000.