This holiday season, playing a mobile game will give you a chance to give back. Kaydabi, a Los Angeles-based mobile gaming startup, has announced the launch of its week-long “Give To Save” campaign for Wild Warriors, the studio’s first title. The puzzle adventure game is already being used to support Kaydabi’s charity partners, which include four of the world’s largest wildlife conservation organizations: Defenders of Wildlife, World Parrot Trust, Sea Turtle Conservancy and African Wildlife Foundation. However, the studio is taking things a step further this month. From December 19th to December 26th, 100 percent of all proceeds that Wild Warriors generates through optional in-app purchases will be used to help save the world’s most endangered animals.
In Wild Warriors, players embark on an epic mission to save Earth’s most at-risk animals from an army of mythical monsters that symbolically represent the real-life threats these animals are facing – everything from poaching and habitat loss to pollution and deforestation. The studio was also sure to include fun facts that educate players about the cute characters and their real-life counterparts. The game was officially launched in November and is available on both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.
Wild Warriors is completely free to download and play, but players can opt to purchase certain virtual goods with real money. Kaydabi usually gives 10 percent of its revenue year-round directly to its charity partners, but that number is being raised to 100 percent for the “Give To Save” campaign. “The holidays are always a special time of year, perfect for a campaign like this,” says Kameni Ngahdeu, one of Kaydabi’s two co-founders. “We’re really excited to shine an even brighter spotlight on our charity partners and allow our players to fully support the incredible work these organizations are doing.”
The studio also found a creative way to allow both non-paying and paying users to make a measurable difference. In Wild Warriors, players are periodically prompted to vote for their favorite characters. At the end of each month, those votes are tallied and used to proportionally divide the charitable funds amongst the different animals featured in the game. For each animal, on behalf of the game’s players, Kaydabi then donates the money directly to the charity partner that is working to save that animal in real life. As a result, users don’t have to spend a dime to help protect their favorite endangered species.
It’s the studio’s goal to pioneer the concept of charitable gaming as a long-term and sustainable model. “A single game today has the potential to reach and entertain millions of people,” says Kwabena Osei-Larbi, Kaydabi’s other co-founder. “However, the impact of most games stops there: they’re simply meant for entertainment at the end of the day.” This didn’t sit well with the founders, especially when they considered how many charities needed support and funding but couldn’t find it. “We really believe that most people want to make a difference and do good, but they don’t always have an easy avenue to do so,” adds Ngahdeu. “We wanted to make social action a simple choice for people, and we believe combining philanthropy with entertainment is an engaging way to do that.”
The company was founded shortly after the two founders met in 2014 while attending the University of Southern California. Ngahdeu, 24, was born and raised in Cameroon, while Osei-Larbi, 23, is originally from Ghana but grew up in Nigeria and Syria. “Having both grown up in developing nations, we’ve always been aware of how many unsolved problems there are all around us,” explains Ngahdeu. “We decided to use our passion for gaming to make a difference.” Things have picked up significantly since. The studio was part of the USC Incubator’s Summer 2015 cohort and Kaydabi was named one of the Top Ten Emerging Gaming Startups of 2016 at this year’s LAUNCH Festival, the largest startup festival in the world.
According to the founders, Kaydabi already has other games in the works that will support many additional causes – everything from tackling world hunger and poverty to promoting gender equality and children’s health. “We aspire to get to the point where our games act as high-powered fundraising and educational laser beams that we can direct at any issue and allow people to make a difference while having fun,” adds Osei-Larbi. “Wild Warriors is the perfect start to that initiative.”