AUSTIN, TEXAS, April 14, 2020 -- Wargaming, the developer of World of Warships, and Stack Up, a nonprofit supporting veterans through gaming, today announced they have raised $114,760 in a five-week campaign dubbed Operation Lifeboat to help military veterans in need of mental-health support.
The amount raised by Operation Lifeboat exceeded the initial target of raising $100,000 over nine weeks.
"This is a difficult time for the world and yet our World of Warships community recognizes the value of what Stack Up provides which is needed now more than ever," said Artur Plociennik, Regional Publishing Director of World of Warships. "The fact that it only took a few weeks to meet - and exceed - our initial objectives is really gratifying for us."
When it comes to mental health, access to crisis prevention programs is vital. To further support veterans and active-duty service members, Wargaming will also embed a link within World of Warships for gamers to connect directly to a trained Stack Up mental-health support volunteer.
"We know a lot of our players are current and former service members, and we are hopeful that the in-game link to Stack Up will make it easier for them to reach out and get support," Plociennik said.
The amount raised by Operation Lifeboat will help ensure round-the-clock access to counselors for more than a year.
"Wargaming's decision to put a link inside World of Warships directing veterans to get the help they need is the first in what could be an amazingly beneficial trend in the online gaming community," Machuga said. "This could start a new way of providing veterans the mental-health support they need in a space where they feel comfortable -- in the comfort of their own homes playing video games."
More than 5,000 World of Warships players participated in Operation Lifeboat by purchasing 5,385 special in-game bundles. The bundles, priced from $12 to $30, gave players special missions, exclusive items, and permanent power-ups within the game. Wargaming will be donating 100% of the sale of the limited-edition bundles to Stack Up's Overwatch Program (StOP). Started in 2016, StOP provides critical support to veterans via a team of trained and certified crisis-intervention volunteers via Discord.