The initiative benefited Doctors Without Borders.
In May, Thatgamecompany announced a “Days of Healing” event for its social multiplayer game Sky. During the subsequent four weeks, players could purchase an in-game cosmetic accessory pack for $19.99, with 100% of the net proceeds being donated to medical humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders. Today, Thatgamecompany announced that more than $1 million was raised through the event.
“Our audience is very much global, so after looking into many charities combating the spread of COVID-19 we reached out to Doctors Without Borders as they are active all around the world, and have a comprehensive plan for responding to the virus, especially in less wealthy nations,” Tim Nixon, director of online experience at Thatgamecompany, told GameDaily.
In addition to Days of Healing, earlier this year Sky also hosted a “Days of Nature” event, a similar initiative that benefited environmentalist nonprofit One Tree Planted. For every sale of an in-game earth-cape accessory, One Tree Planted would plant a tree across the Amazonian and Australian forests damaged by wildfires earlier this year. In total, 40,576 trees were planted.
“One Tree Planted is doing a lot of great work to repair the devastating deforestation seen around the world,” Nixon said. “It was also compelling for us to partner with them as we could say to our fans that for each cape item purchased in game, we would plant a tree in the real world, which has a nice feeling that you have made something concrete happen.”
Nixon said that he’s heartened by the response to Sky’s charity events, and that Thatgamecompany is very proud to have worked with both organizations.
“The reaction from our audience has been hugely positive,” Nixon said. “Our players are such a generous and compassionate group of people, and we count ourselves enormously lucky to have them as our fans.”
The origins of these events stem from Thatgamecompany’s desire to have a positive impact on humanity, Nixon said.
“It was a natural progression for us to explore ways for us to have a material impact on our community and the world. Acknowledging and supporting the climate emergency felt like a good first step, then when COVID broke out the whole studio was eager to do something to help.”
The games industry at large has stepped up its charity funding since the outbreak of COVID-19; many studios and organizations have established fundraising efforts for various charities looking to lessen the impact of the coronavirus. Big names like Bethesda, Sony, Rockstar, and more have all donated substantial sums to relief efforts.
Elsewhere, the Black Lives Matter movement has spurned another uptick in games industry charities, including itch.io’s Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality, which raised more that $8 million for the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and the Community Bail Fund.
While today’s climate of racial injustice and the ongoing COVID-19 is unequivocally oppressive and discouraging, it’s at least a little bit heartening to see the games industry banding together to support the greater good. Hopefully the industry doesn’t lose interest over time, and these efforts continue throughout the remainder of 2020 and beyond.
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