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Play Nice event reveals gaming's social conscience

Playmob's London event unites activism, development and research

The inaugural Play Nice, an afternoon of presentations on the subject of philanthropy, education and social change in gaming, took place in London yesterday, bringing together speakers and attendees from fields across the technology and charity sectors.

The event was organised by Playmob, which specialises in the use of charity campaigns and initiatives to increase customer acquisition, spend and retention for developers whilst raising money for worthy causes.

The afternoon's speeches opened with an impassioned and energetic summary of the work of Peace One Day, delivered by founder Jeremy Gilley. Gilley spoke about his quest to implement a UN mandated World Peace Day which he aims to have observed by governments, paramilitary groups and communities world wide. Addressing some of the cynicism regarding the expectations of his work, Gilley spoke about his visits to conflict zones around the world including meetings with the Dalai Lama and successful negotiations with the head of the Mujaheddin in Afghanistan to ensure a day long ceasefire in the region.

As well as the work in war torn areas, Gilley also addressed the massive problem of domestic violence worldwide, calling it "the biggest war of all." Gilley hopes to reach 600 million people with this year's celebrations of World Peace Day, on September 21, and six billion by 2016.

After Gilley came Playdemic's Paul Gouge, speaking about the company's latest social title, Village Life. During his presentation, Gouge spoke about the tuning of Village Life to produce real emotional resonance by asking players to guide a family, and eventually a village, through the tentpole events of life, including marriage, children and, eventually, death.

"Emotional engagement in social games is key to their success," Gouge told the audience.

Next was Martha Henson of the Edugames Hub, a resource website run by volunteers which aims to provide resources and support to the developers of educational titles. Max Vetter of the ICC Commercial Crime Services spoke about the dangers of the Dark Web and the difficulty of policing it, followed by Luke Shires and Dr Steven Battersby talking about their research work at the Nottingham Trent University, using Kinect to provide physiotherapy for the victims of strokes.

Currently, Playmob hopes to make the event an annual fixture.