Electronic Arts will donate the original SimCity city-building game to each computer in the non-profit One Laptop Per Child humanitarian initiative, which designs, manufactures and distributes inexpensive laptops to children around the world with the goal of giving every child in the world access to modern education.
The SimCity franchise, which gives players the responsibility of building and maintaining a city, has sold more than 18 million games worldwide, according to EA. It demonstrates the impact of various power sources and provides a socioeconomic simulation, among other features, and EA hopes it will provide children with a way to engage with computers while learning decision-making skills.
OLPC will begin distributing laptops in countries such as Uruguay, Peru, Mexico, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Haiti, Cambodia and India by the end of 2007. EA adds that SimCity is already being used in more than 10,000 classrooms as an educational tool, and that it is part of the annual Future City Competition, a contest that still runs in seventh and eighth grade classrooms today.
Steve Seabolt, vice president of global brand development for The Sims Label, commented, "SimCity is entertainment that's unintentionally educational. Players learn to use limited resources to build and customize their cities. There are choices and consequences, but in the end, it's a creativity tool that's only limited by the player's imagination."
He continued: "The game should prove to be an incredibly effective way of making the laptop relevant, engaging, and fun, particularly for first time players. We are thrilled to be making this contribution to OLPC to help meet their goal of educating the children of the world."