Video Game Companies and Philanthropy

Part
01
of two
Part
01

Video Game Companies and Philanthropy

Gaming has become a major source of philanthropic donations in the U.S. video gaming companies like Electronic Arts (E.A.), and Xbox Game Studios taking part in continuous philanthropic endeavors. There were no direct findings on Apple Arcade’s and Google Stadia’s philanthropic activities. This may be due to the fact that both companies were launched in 2019, thus are still relatively new in the gaming sphere. There were also no specific findings of Ubisoft's and Amazon Game Studios' philanthropic activities in the U.S.

Electronic Arts (E.A.)

Xbox Game Studios

  • Xbox launched Gaming and Giving for Good (G3), a live charity event in 2011. It initially started as a charity event to raise funds for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. By 2019's event, denoted by the hashtag #GIVEWITHXBOX, G3 had raised $1million through online gaming by its players. The funds raised were distributed to 4 charities: Child's Play, Gamers' Outreach, SpecialEffect and Operation Supply Drop (OSD).


Notable Mentions

Desert Bus for Hope

Games Done Quick


Research Strategy

To establish the charitable efforts of Google Stadia, Apple Arcade, Amazon Game Studios, Xbox Game Studios, Ubisoft, and E.A, we began by going through the company websites for information. Website searches only yielded information for Xbox and E.A's philanthropic activities. Ubisoft's search yielded charity activities in Canada, which fell outside the outlined scope. There was no identifiable information on Google Stadia and Apple Arcade's philanthropic activities.

Next, we searched for news and press releases centered on the charitable efforts of the specified video game companies. We searched through credible source such as Forbes, The Washington Post, and CNN, among others for relevant information. However, this search strategy did not yield the results we were seeking as none of them addressed the companies listed above or similar video game companies. Though we came across data on the "digital telethons" spearheaded by Twitch, which raised over $75 million from 2012 to 2017, Twitch operates as a live-streaming platform as opposed to a video game company.

We then widened our search to include industry thought leaders. This yielded further information about the charitable efforts of E.A and Xbox, as well as pointing us to Desert Bus for Hope and Games Done Quick. While the latter were not specifically video game companies, they had significant charitable efforts worth mentioning.
Part
02
of two
Part
02

Companies That Manage Donations Through Video Games

Blizzard Entertainment -- In-game Donations

  • In May 2018, Blizzard ran a two-week campaign for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
  • During the campaign, players were able to purchase a $15 pink-colored "legendary" skin for Mercy, one of the game's most prolific characters.
  • The campaign raised $12.7 million over the two-week period, in which 100% of the proceeds were made into donations.
  • Blizzard's donation became the largest corporate donation in the history of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation within a one-year period.
  • Blizzard has also partnered with a multitude of charities in the past, such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the American Red Cross's Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami relief efforts, and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Epic Games -- Fortnite Charity Livestreams

  • In June 2018, Epic Games announced a charity event in which streamers and celebrities would team up in Fortnite -- the winning duo, Tyler "Ninja" Blevins and Christopher "Marshmello" Comstock, were able to donate $1 million to any charity of their choice, and the remaining $2 million was split between the top ten teams at the same discretion.
  • Being Fortnite's most prolific player and streamer, Ninja has done other charity work in tandem with Epic Games before, such as a livestream at Guardiancon in 2018, in which Blevins raised $2.7 million for St. Jude Children's Hospital.
  • Epic Games has also supported game developers, enterprise professionals, students, educators, and various creators with its "MegaGrants" campaign. As of 2020, Epic Games has given $100 million in financial grants.

Riot Games -- Charity Tournaments

  • During the 2018 All Stars Event, Riot Games hosted a tournament in which the winning duo would be able to donate $100,000 to a charity of their choice.
  • The runner-ups were given $25,000 at the same discretion, and all eight participating teams were given a $10,000 minimum for charity as well.
  • The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention won the $100,000 prize pool, with the Korean Association for Safe Communities coming in at second with a $25,000 donation.
  • During their League of Legends World's Tournament in 2017, Riot Games hosted an in-game fundraiser to support BasicNeeds, a group dedicated to helping individuals with mental illness, Learning Equality, a program designed to offer digital education for students in over 175 countries, and the Raspberry Pi Foundation, which used its funds to create 5,000 "coding dojos" for youth across South America, India, China, and East Africa.
  • Players raised $2.4 million through the in-game fundraiser, which consisted of players buying cosmetic products, which were then given as donations.
  • BasicNeeds currently serves over 700,000 people worldwide in 15 countries.
  • Learning Equality is estimated to have reached 4.5 million students so far.

Mermaids -- Charity Livestreams

  • In January 2019, Harry "hbomberguy" Brewis responded to transphobic comments with a Donkey Kong 64 marathon stream to raise money for Mermaids, a youth transgender charity based in the UK.
  • The livestream was hosted on Twitch and lasted 57 hours and 48 minutes, raising $340,000.
  • Notable celebrities such as Cher, Chelsea Manning, John Romero, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez endorsed and interacted with the livestream.



Sources
Sources

From Part 01