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Gamers Can Be Kind!

A hand holding onto a paper cutout of a heart passing it to another hand

How Gamers Can Be Kind and Charitable: Real-World Impact Through Virtual Worlds

In an age where video games are often criticized for their potential negative effects, a growing movement within the gaming community is showcasing the immense potential for positive impact. Gamers and developers alike are leveraging the power of video games to support various charitable causes, proving that kindness and generosity can thrive in the virtual world. Here’s how gamers can be kind and charitable, with inspiring examples from recent initiatives.

1. Speedrunning for a Cause: Games Done Quick

Games Done Quick (GDQ) is a biannual event where speedrunners from around the world gather to complete games as quickly as possible. These marathon events are streamed live, attracting millions of viewers. Since its inception, GDQ has raised millions for charities like Doctors Without Borders and the Prevent Cancer Foundation. By turning their passion for speedrunning into a force for good, gamers have demonstrated that even the most niche aspects of gaming can contribute to meaningful causes.

2. Playing for the Kids: Extra Life

Extra Life is an annual gaming marathon dedicated to raising money for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. Participants pledge to play games for 24 hours straight, collecting donations from friends, family, and viewers. This initiative has raised tens of millions of dollars, helping to fund critical treatments and healthcare services for children in need. Extra Life showcases the power of community and the generosity of gamers who are willing to play for a cause.

3. Charitable Bundles: Humble Bundle

Humble Bundle offers collections of games, books, and software at a pay-what-you-want price, with a portion of the proceeds going to charity. This model has raised over $200 million for various organizations, including the American Red Cross, charity: water, and Save the Children. By purchasing these bundles, gamers not only gain access to great content but also support important charitable work around the world.

4. Peaceful Play: War Child UK’s Armistice

War Child UK’s Armistice campaign collaborates with game developers to promote peaceful play and raise funds for children affected by conflict. Games like "This War of Mine" and "Verdun" have participated, offering special in-game content and experiences. These initiatives remind players of the realities of war and encourage them to contribute to peace-building efforts through their gameplay.

5. Skins for a Cause: Overwatch and Pink Mercy

Blizzard Entertainment’s "Overwatch" offered a special Pink Mercy skin to support breast cancer research, raising over US$12 million for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation in 2018. This initiative not only provided players with unique in-game content but also highlighted the gaming community’s willingness to support critical health research.

6. Wildlife Conservation: Arknights and WWF

Mobile game Arknights collaborated with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to raise awareness and funds for wildlife conservation. Players could purchase special in-game packs, with proceeds going to WWF’s efforts to protect endangered species. Close to US$1 million was raised. This collaboration demonstrates how game developers can partner with environmental organizations to make a tangible impact.

7. Cancer Research: Warframe’s Quest to Conquer Cancer

Digital Extremes, the developer of Warframe, launched the Quest to Conquer Cancer campaign. Players could purchase special in-game items, with proceeds going to the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation to support cancer research and patient care. About $185,704 was raised during this event. This initiative illustrates how game content can be designed specifically to drive charitable donations.

8. Community Fundraising: Twitch Charity Streams

Twitch, the popular game streaming platform, regularly hosts charity streams where streamers play games and interact with their audience to raise funds for various causes. Events like "St. Jude PLAY LIVE" have become significant fundraising efforts, with gamers raising money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.


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