As a proponent of philanthropy, I believe that it is crucial for all people to come together and give back to their respective communities. Therefore, whenever a successful charity event occurs, I like to highlight those achievements. Recently, the gaming community put its philanthropic chops on display by raising almost $13 million for breast cancer research.
The popular cooperative shooting game Overwatch recently held a charity event from May 8 to the 21st. For the event, Blizzard, the video game’s developer, created a special “Pink Mercy” skin for one of the game’s characters. Skins are very common in today’s video game culture; in short, they are nothing more than additional aesthetic outfits for video game characters that add no real value to the core gameplay. And even so, Blizzard was able to raise a staggering amount of money.
All of the proceeds collected from the $15 Pink Mercy skin were donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. What’s more, Blizzard also offered a $30 limited-edition Pink Mercy t-shirt and donated all proceeds to the foundation. According to Blizzard, only a few thousand shirts were purchased, meaning the overwhelming majority of players opted to purchase the skin. These numbers are impressive for two reasons: firstly, because of the amount of money raised in only two weeks, and secondly because of the bad rap that the gaming community has had over the past couple of decades.
While roughly 1.2 billion people in the world play video games, the hobby is still looked upon as childish or silly. Additionally, video games, particularly violent ones that focus on killing other players (such as Overwatch) have been attacked by the media and politicians for encouraging real-life violence among children. While several studies on the issue have proven otherwise, it is a popular stigma that still haunts the community to this day. Furthermore, microtransactions (in-game purchases) have been heavily criticized by the gaming community itself for allegedly milking players of their money.
Even with these negative stereotypes and assumptions, gamers came together to show their support for a cause that needs our attention. According to an article from CNET, Stephanie Kauffman, Chief Strategic Alliances Officer at BCRF, claims that the proceeds will assist in improving the foundation’s treatments and research, among other things.
I not only love the fact that so many people came together to donate so much money for breast cancer research, but I also admire the speed and streamlined process in which it was completed. Perhaps more video game developers should team up with various other philanthropic organizations and charities. It could raise millions of dollars at break-neck speeds.