Games industry rallies in fight against COVID-19

Update: Twitch event raises $2.77 million for WHO and United Nations Foundation fund

Original story, March 25, 2020: Game companies from around the world are rallying to offer support during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic which has resulted in over 19,000 deaths and led to mass global disruption.

"Games have an important role in raising awareness of the challenges the world is currently facing," said Dr Richard Hatchett, CEO of Coalition of Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.

"Only through a concerted, global response -- with the private sector working together with Governments and philanthropies, pooling resources and expertise -- can we hope to stop such emerging epidemic threats."

Ndemic Creations
Plague Inc. developer Ndemic Creations has donated $250,000 to the Coalition of Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and the World Health Organisation's COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

"Eight years ago, I never imagined the real world would come to resemble a game of Plague Inc. or that so many players would be using Plague Inc. to help them get through an actual pandemic," said game creator James Vaughan.

"We are proud to be able to help support the vital work of the WHO and CEPI as they work towards finding a vaccine for COVID-19."

Esports betting site Luckbox has pledged support for the WeSave Charity Play DOTA 2 tournament which is raising money for both the CEPI and GlobalGiving.

Featuring 24 teams, the online tournament was organised by sports marketing agency WePlay; the event runs until Thursday, March 27 and has so far raised 90% of its $200,000 target.

Luckbox has pledged to support the effort by donating all revenue from bets placed on matches during the tournament.

Russian mobile developer MyTona partnered with ride sharing firm inDriver to donate $500,000 to hospitals in the city of Yakutsk.

The announcement was posted on MyTona's Facebook page (translated via Google Translate), and clarified the money would be used to purchase ventilators and other essential equipment.

CD Projekt
The Cyberpunk 2077 developer has organized a donation of 4 million PLN ($950,000) to non-profit organization Fundacja Wielka Orkiestra Świątecznej Pomocy to fight the spread of COVID-19 in its native Poland. Half of the money is coming from the board of directors and major shareholders, while the other half is being donated by the company itself.

Popular Mixer streamer Tyler "Ninja" Blevins this week donated $150,000 to combat the coronavirus outbreak, while Nintendo gave the City of North Bend, Washington, 9,500 respiratory masks, and peripheral manufacturer Razer donated one million surgical masks to global health authorities.

Update, March 27, 2020: Riot Games and the company's co-founders are donating $1.5 million to support COVID-19 relief efforts in Los Angeles, California.

Brandon Beck and Marc Merrill have donated $500,000 each, while another $500,000 has come directly from the League of Legends developer itself.

Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti made the announcement in a press conference this week, which originally stated the figure at $1 million.

However, Riot Games corrected the figure to $1.5 in a statement to The Wrap -- $400,000 will go to the Los Angeles Food Bank, while another $200,000 will go towards the Mayor's Fund, and the remaining money will be donated to local nonprofit organisations.

Riot Games is also helping to source personal protective gear such as facemasks for frontline workers.

Update, March 30, 2020: This weekend's Twitch Stream Aid event raised $2.77 million for the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO powered by the United Nations Foundation.

The total was announced via Twitter yesterday, and the streaming marketplace is continuing to encourage donations.

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