The main beneficiaries of the boom in free-to-play social mobile games have been their developers and publishers, with in-app purchases now a booming revenue stream on iOS and Android. Now a new game called Hum This! is trying to help charities benefit too.

Released today by British developer Digital Giving, it’s a social music game that sits neatly in the middle of two of the biggest social/mobile hits in recent memory: Draw Something and SongPop.

The game involves humming, whistling or singing a song chosen from the game’s catalogue for up to 10 seconds, then sending the recording to a friend to guess what it is.

The goal is to construct “Hum Runs” that are as long as possible and win monthly prizes, while the in-app currency – “notes” – can be bought in quantities of 800 for £1.49. The game is available in free or paid versions, with the latter costing £1.49 and coming with 1,500 notes.

Digital Giving says that 15% of the net proceeds from Hum This! will go to two charities: War Child and Nordoff Robbins.

There are some big-name backers for the game too: HMV, O2 and Ticketmaster, who will all be promoting it to their customers and providing prizes. For example, the first monthly prize is “two concert tickets of your choice” for the longest Hum Run, with runners up getting HMV vouchers.

“We’re excited that it’s a way of engaging a whole new audience that traditional charity communications may not reach and we hope as many people as possible download and enjoy the game,” says War Child’s director of fundraising Ben Knowles in a statement.

Hum This! will only be lucrative for its charity partners if the game reaches a wide audience. As a comparison, SongPop currently has 3.9m daily active users across Facebook and iOS/Android, while Draw Something has 2m – both figures are from AppData, which only counts players who have connected the games to their Facebook accounts.

This is far from the first example of a partnership between a social games company and charities. Zynga has been running campaigns for several years in its Facebook games, including raising $1.5m in five days in early 2010 in an appeal following an earthquake in Haiti.

More recently, the company announced that it was lending out some of its developers to help the organisers of the Half The Sky movement launch a social game to help their efforts to turn “oppression into opportunity for women worldwide”. It’s due to launch on Facebook in November.

Other examples include Sojo Studios’ Facebook game WeTopia, which funds real-world projects with the money made from its virtual item sales, and Raise The Village, a FarmVille-style iOS game where players’ purchases were turned into real goods for a village in Uganda.

From: guardian.co.uk – Read more