BP has joined with Electronic Arts to work a little global warming education into the next chapter in EA’s city management simulator, SimCity Societies.

In the new game, players will have a much wider variety of power generation choices for their cities, with appropriate consequences for each. As in real life, the simplest and least-expensive power plants also generate the greatest amounts of carbon dioxide, which will raise carbon ratings and, at high levels, result in alerts about the increased threat of natural disasters including drought and heat waves. Players who choose from the BP Alternative Energy options will see significantly reduced carbon emissions, but will be forced to pay more for them and will see a lower “per-building” rate of energy production compared to conventional power sources. Brief bits of power generation and conservation information will be available in-game as well, keeping players informed about climate change issues in the game as well as in the real world.

“With SimCity Societies, we have the opportunity not only to demonstrate some of the causes and effects of global warming, but also to educate players how seemingly small choices can have a big global impact,” said EA’s Steve Seabolt. “BP was one of the first major energy companies to publicly acknowledge the need to reduce carbon emissions and begin taking precautionary measures. As such, they are the perfect partner to help educate people on this important issue in SimCity Societies.”

BP Alternative Energy Vice President Carol Battershell added, “EA was developing the next iteration of the SimCity series at the same time that we were looking for opportunities to raise awareness about low-carbon power choices. EA has a powerful reach to the next generation and BP has a suite of low-carbon power alternatives. In our collaboration through this innovative game, we can provide education on the issues surrounding climate change, its association with carbon emissions and the ability to take early positive action through low-carbon power choices.”

Formerly known as British Petroleum, BP is one of the world’s largest private sector energy corporations, with 2006 revenues of over $274 billion; the SimCity series of games, first launched in 1989, is a popular and award-winning franchise that has spun off numerous sequels, including The Sims. SimCity Societies is scheduled for release in November.

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