EA donates SimCity to OLPC project

EA donates SimCity to OLPC project

Virtual world to help kids develop decision-making skills

Electronic Arts (EA) is donating the original 1989 version of SimCity to the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project.

The games developer said that SimCity would provide children with a fun and educational program on the new machines.

"By gifting SimCity onto each OLPC laptop, EA is providing users with an entertaining way to engage with computers as well as help develop decision-making skills while honing creativity," an EA statement said.

Players of SimCity take on the role of mayor in a new city, with responsibility for building and maintaining essentials such as housing, transport, schools, factories and shops.

The idea to connect SimCity with the OLPC foundation came from internet pioneer, activist and OLPC advisor John Gilmore, who knew the game's history and recognised its potential relevance.

Steve Seabolt, vice president of global brand development for The Sims Label, added: "SimCity is entertainment that's unintentionally educational.

"There are choices and consequences, but in the end, it's a creativity tool limited only by the player's imagination."

OLPC is a not-for-profit humanitarian effort to design, manufacture and distribute inexpensive laptops with the goal of giving every child in the world access to modern education.

The first machines went into production this week and will be distributed in countries such as Uruguay, Peru, Mexico, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Haiti, Cambodia and India by the end of 2007.