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.)
- Since its launch in 2016, E.A's Play to Give program has been donating a total of $1 million to charitable organizations on behalf of their players.
- ·Through the E.A. Play, gamers on E.A's platform take part in a five-game challenge that the gaming platform designs to support the program.
- The charities that benefit include the United Nation's HeForShe, PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center, and Ditch the Label.
- In 2013 in collaboration with Humble Bundle, E.A. launched The Humble Origin- which enabled its gamers to buy ten games for about a discounted price of five dollars. Proceeds from this bundle were divided among five charities: American Red Cross, Watsi, San Francisco AIDS Foundation, Human Rights Campaign, and American Cancer Society.
- In record-breaking time, EA had received donations of over $4 million from over 850,000 donors in 2 days. In totality, the campaign sold over 2 million bundles and raised over $10.5 million for charity.
- Since then, a selection of EA games has been available on the Humble Bundle store; heavily discounted and a significant portion of the sales being donated to charity.
- E.A's website notes that to date, $1.1 million has been donated by EA employees towards charitable organizations, with E. A matching their employees' donations with an additional $350,000. The website further notes that E.A has donated $900,000 in grants to charity. It is not clear which specific charities benefited, but the website notes that E.A is continuously committed to its outreach and social impact activities.
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).
Desert Bus for Hope
- This is a charity gaming marathon that was launched in 2004. In its 12 years of existence, it has raised over $5 million in philanthropic giving. Child's Play is its only beneficiary.
- The funds are raised by gamers who bid to drive the virtual bus, Desert Bus, for one hour. Each preceding hour's rate is 70% higher than the previous hour. In 2018, the marathon fund-raised $730,289.37, its biggest amount yet, in six non-stop days.
Games Done Quick
- Games Done Quick is a series of game marathons aimed at raising money for charity. Since its inception in 2010, it has raised over $22 million for various charities. Some charities that have benefited include Doctors Without Borders and the Prevent Cancer Foundation. Gamers play high-level games and show their impressive speedrunning skills, whose proceeds go to the predetermined charities. In 2020, Awesome Games Done Quick (AGDQ) raised $3.1 million for the Prevent Cancer Foundation.
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.