What Billions Of Users Could Play Next – Mobile Games For Social Change


As someone who logged serious hours as a kid shooting at monsters in video games, I applaud games that give players a cruel and worthy foe to take down. For this reason, Decode Global caught my attention, since it’s out to develop mobile games that face some nasty devils – real, global social problems.




This Montreal-based startup serves as an incubator for mobile games that address social problems and is a driving force to empower humanitarian technologists. The hope is educate youth about global challenges in an entertaining fashion, and interest them in making positive changes down the road.


The first game released by Decode Global on World Water Day in March was Get Water. Players help Maya collect water for her family so she can stay in school and keep leaning. This platform helps raise awareness about water scarcity and the damaging consequences it has on young girls’ education. Aside from the commendable effort to stir young activism, the team has also worked hard to put together a fun and attractive game.




Developing Mobile Games For Social Change

Decode Global launched in 2012, led by CEO and Founder, Angelique Mannella. Mannella’s interest in international projects also made her an entrepreneur-in-residence with info DevGroup, a partner with the World Bank Group focused on the use of technology in developing countries and the growth of sustainable businesses. Mannella is an engineer who started her career as a semiconductor designer. She previously honed her executive skills working at Nokia, YOOSE, and Cisco Systems, Inc.


Over 1.7 million mobile phones were sold in 2012 alone, with the number of global smartphone users crossing the one billion threshold. Along with these impressive statistics comes a tremendous appetite for games. About time we aimed at true villains. Imagine instead of firing angry birds with our thumbs we… thwarted animal poachers, for instance – made it fun for our kids to undo the violence in our world?




On the screen and in the classroom, Decode Global is on a mission to engage young students around the world. A Fellowship Program encourages students with technological aspirations to think about how they might also make social impacts. Fundraising campaigns and participation in startup festivals are just few of the other ways that Decode Global looks to recruit new activists.


Speaking as the little boy still lurking inside me, I know a huge part of the allure of each quest-themed game was undertaking a huge, complicated project that seemed dangerous and bigger than daily reality. Not so different than, say, building a startup, or… confronting huge global issues – trying to achieve the higher purposes Decode Global has set its sights on. Be sure to give them a look.


Photo Credits

Decode Global