Justin Bieber has invested in social game company Sojo Studios, a company that embeds charitable giving into its games. The young superstar today announced his involvement the same way he launched his career, by using Facebook and Twitter to connect directly with his fans.
Beiber and fellow investor Ellen DeGeneres will use their entertainment industry status to support WeTopia, Sojo’s first title, as well as future games.
Beiber posted the following to his Facebook page at 12:46 p.m. PST: “a fan first showed me this and now I am Proud to be a part of WeTopia. When you play, you help kids in the REAL WORLD. Let’s all play this game and really MAKE A CHANGE. thanks”
Within two hours, that update had received nearly 18,000 “likes” and hundreds of “shares.” He also tweeted the information to his 15.6 million followers, making all but one of them jealous by later giving a shout-out to @MiKSHiNE as the fan who introduced him to WeTopia.
Players build a WeTopia village, which rewards beneficial behavior like helping neighbors by adding the in-game virtual currency known as Joy to their accounts. It’s free to play, although the option is available to purchase Joy using Facebook credits. Gamers can then choose actual, non-virtual projects that will receive their Joy, in return for which they get pictures, videos and in-game messages to track their contributions. Initial nonprofit partners include Save the Children, buildOn and Children’s Health Fund.
“Playing online games can be a lot of fun, and WeTopia makes it even better by helping children around the world, whether they need a school, or vaccinations, or clean water,” said Bieber. “I’ve always been passionate about giving back, and I hope my fans will feel the same way when they play WeTopia.”
This is hardly the first time he has leveraged his popularity to aid others. Earlier this year Bieber announced the Believe Charity Drive, which receives a portion of the North American proceeds from sales of his current Under The Mistletoe album. He also worked with interactive firm AgencyNet and online fundraising platform StayClassy to create a section of his site where fans can make direct contributions to seven of his chosen charities: Pencils of Promise; Project Medishare for Haiti;City of Hope; Make-A-Wish Foundation and www.worldwish.org; Boys & Girls Clubs of America; Musicians On Call; and the GRAMMY Foundation.
“We’re thrilled to partner with Justin Bieber, an amazing entertainer and someone who has emerged as one of the most prolific young philanthropists this world has seen,” said Lincoln Brown, founder and chief executive officer of Sojo Studios. “Justin is using his voice to inspire millions of fans around the world – including daughters and their moms – to give back. We can’t think of a better way to bring the generations together than on WeTopia, which lets players do good while having fun.”