As gamers, and especially MMO gamers it’s very easy for us to get caught up in our own little worlds. This isn’t a condemnation, it’s the just the way things are with groups of people passionate about their hobbies. It says a lot then, that gamers haven’t turned a blind eye to the recent tragedy that has seen so much of Haiti wiped off the map.
Just over a week ago, Haiti, and Port au Prince in particular were hit by a massive earthquake registering 7.0 on the Richter scale, the worst earthquake the country has seen in over two centuries. The quake has absolutely devastated Haiti, a country with little infrastructure set in place to deal with such an emergency. The international response has been swift, and the outpouring of support has been substantial, but with a death toll feared to reach as high as 200,000, and aid organisations having a difficult time actually co-ordinating their efforts on the ground, more is always needed.
On January 16th, casual game developer PopCap Games pledged to donate 100% of all proceeds for the day towards the relief effort.
Proving that even the little guy can help out, indie developer Behemoth, makers of Xbox Live Arcade co-op beat-em-up, Castle Crashers, has pledged to donate 100% of their profits from downloadable content until January 24th. In addition, the developers have promised to double the donation amount by adding from their own cash reserves, and will then donate the money to the American Red Cross and Haiti Relief Development Fund.
But the MMO community has responded as well, as in just three days Sony Online Entertainment, makers of Star Wars: Galaxies, Free Realms, EverQuest II and many more, have managed, with the help of their players, to raise a massive 25,000 dollars to be donated to the American Red Cross. Players and SOE raised the money by purchasing in-game items via the company’s Station Exchange store.
Also to be commended are the efforts of Bungie, developers of the wildly successful Halo series for the Xbox. Bungie is offering special “Be a Hero” t-shirts on its website, the full proceeds of which are to be donated to the American Red Cross. In addition, from now till the end of February, Bungie will also be donating all the proceeds from sales on its online store to the relief efforts. Lastly, just yesterday Bungie pledged to donate $100 for every fan (up to $77,000) who logged online to play either Halo 3 or Halo: ODST. Be a Hero indeed.
Zynga, casual developers of popular Facebook games have set up a web page that allows you to donate directly to the World Food Programme, who are helping to feed hungry mouths after the devastating quake.
GamersGamingforGood are currently running a gaming marathon, and have raised just over $700, with a view to donating towards WorldVision’s aid relief.
In closing we at EpicToon would like to express our incredible sadness at what’s happened in Haiti, our hearts go out to you, and our thoughts are with you. It’s times like this that make you proud to be a gamer, we get a bad wrap from the media more often than not, as they would rather paint us as lacking passion and unsociable, but our actions will prove different.