Wildeverse maker aims to turn two billion gamers into conservationists 1

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Wildeverse was initially developed as an outdoor game, but the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns forced the game’s developers to work around the clock to adapt it for indoor play

Quick read

➨ Wildeverse is available for free on Android and Apple mobile devices compatible with ARCore and ARKit
➨ The game was launched in the UK by Chester Zoo and the US by Zoo Atlanta
➨ Internet of Elephants collaborated with the Borneo Nature Foundation and the Goualougo Triangle Ape Project on the game

The story

The maker of the new Wildeverse AR game that allows players to protect apes in their jungle homes is on a mission to turn two billion people playing games today into wildlife lovers and supporters of conservation efforts.

That’s according to Kenya-based Internet of Elephants (IoE) founder Gautam Shah—whose game development studio partnered with conservation science experts Borneo Nature Foundation, Goualougo Triangle Ape Foundation, Zoo Atlanta and Chester Zoo to launch Wildeverse, now available for free on Android and Apple mobile devices compatible with ARCore and ARKit.

Shah said: “Ape populations are being decimated across the world. Wildlife protection will only become a global priority if enough people take an interest. Conservationists on the ground are fighting an uphill battle with the support of only a handful of people. We are on a mission to turn the two billion people playing games today, into wildlife lovers and supporters of conservation efforts.”

Wildeverse, launched in the UK by Chester Zoo and the US by Zoo Atlanta, was initially developed as an outdoor game, but the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns forced the game’s developers to work around the clock over the past few weeks to adapt it for indoor play and entertainment.

Players join a team of wildlife scientists and help them collect the data needed to protect dwindling natural habitats and the apes that live there. They can enter and explore holographic AR jungles from anywhere, discover four real apes—named Fio, Buka, Chilli, and Aida—across two continents, and take photos in the virtual jungle. Internet of Elephants plans to add more species and habitats in the future.

Wildeverse maker aims to turn two billion gamers into conservationists 2
Players can enter and explore holographic AR jungles from anywhere, discover four real apes—named Fio, Buka, Chilli, and Aida—across two continents, and take photos in the virtual jungle

To develop Wildeverse, IoE collaborated with the Borneo Nature Foundation and the Goualougo Triangle Ape Project, which are at the forefront of science and protection of rainforests in Africa and Asia.

The IoE team traveled to the jungles of Congo and Borneo to witness their work, and to scout wildlife stars for the game. They tracked several families of apes, spoke to scientists and rangers, and dove into the conservation data. Four apes (Fio the orangutan, Aida the chimpanzee, Buka the gorilla, and Chilli the gibbon) were selected for their life stories and personalities.

 

“We want to make wildlife a positive, exciting topic of daily conversation for millions of people currently unconnected to conservation.”

Gautam Shah, Internet of Elephants

IoE then used this experience to craft virtual versions of the apes and habitats, and created a compelling narrative based on the activities of the Borneo Nature Foundation and the Goualougo Triangle Ape Project.

Shah continued: “We want to make wildlife a positive, exciting topic of daily conversation for millions of people currently unconnected to conservation. We want to make Fio, Buka, Chilli and Aida celebrities, just like Kim Kardashian, Messi, and Donald Trump. People’s attention matters so much more than they think.”

Images: Internet of Elephants