Delivered February 12, 2020. Contributor: Shannon L.
To obtain a deep dive of video and mobile game companies and their philanthropic contributions to social impact causes or humanitarian efforts for the purposes of fully understanding the video game industry.
Early research identified four video game companies that have significantly contributed to social impact causes or humanitarian efforts.
In 2018, Activision Blizzard sold a limited edition pink "skin" for Mercy, an Overwatch character, in an effort to raise funds for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Additionally, the company sold "charity T-shirts with the Pink Mercy design, and ran an online gaming event with 14 star players on the live-stream gaming network Twitch, who agreed to donate any network-based tips or 'bits' received during their sessions to the event."
Activision Blizzard has organized charity events like this for other recipients, including the American Red Cross and Children's Hospital of Orange County.
Earlier in 2018, Activision Blizzard sold a limited time in-game pet called Mischief in the game, World of Warcraft, and a related stuffed animal to raise $2.5 million for the Make-A-Wish foundation.
Activision Blizzard also has its own charitable causes that its games support, including The Call of Duty Endowment, which "supports job placement efforts for veterans." In December 2017, the company offered in-game purchases of a limited edition helmet and emblem to support this cause.
The popular video game streaming site, Twitch, has become the platform of choice for philanthropic live streaming.
Between 2012 and 2017, digital telethons on Twitch raised $75 million for various charities, including Doctors Without Borders and Prevent Cancer Foundation.
In 2018, gamers and a matching contribution from PUBG Corporation raised "$772,598.59 in support of providing entertainment to hospitalized children."
Streamers raised about $220,000 of that total, with another approximately $202,000 coming from ticket sales, donations, and a commitment from Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers. PUBG Corporation contributed $350,000 in matching funds.
Riot Games, developer of League of Legends, offered a special edition Championship Ashe skin during the 2017 League of Legends World Championship Series with a portion of sales dedicated to charitable causes.
The efforts, which targeted more than 57 million viewers, raised $2.35 million for three charities.
Riot Games also has a philanthropic venture fund called the Riot Social Impact Fund that helped raised $45,000 during a 24-hour live stream of the League of Legends All-Star event in December 2019 to benefit the Bahamas Relief Foundation.
In total, the Riot Social Impact Fund has donated over "$4 million on players’ behalf to promote equality in education, opportunity, and global citizenship."
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