How the gaming industry reacted to COVID-19

While we don’t often get an opportunity to sing the praises of the larger games companies around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has provided them with an opportunity to use their resources or their wealth to do something good.

Whether some of these actions are PR stunts or to curry favour remains to be discussed but regardless of their motives, here is some of good that gaming industry has done in an otherwise bleak time.

Sony

Sony has its Play at Home Initiative, which involves giving players free games and providing funding to indie developers who have been impacted by the spread of SARS-CoV-2 (commonly known as the coronavirus).

While the two free games Journey and Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection are nice, the main arm of this initiative is to provide a fund of $10m to support their “independent development partners”.

Nintendo

Nintendo donated respirator masks to the state of Washington, home to one of the US’s first COVID-19 outbreaks, in order to help doctors, nurses, and healthcare workers to protect themselves.

With Nintendo of America’s headquarters in Redmond, WA., this was clearly an issue close to home for the company.

Humble Bundle

Humble Bundle ran the Conquer COVID-19 Bundle which included over $1,000 of games for just $30 with 100% of the proceeds going to support organisations dealing with the pandemic.

Some of the games included in the bundle were Into the Breach and Undertale but there was something for everyone including Jackbox Party Pack 2 which might become a lifesaver if you’re in lockdown or quarantine.

Gamedev.world

Gamedev.world offered a GDC Relief Bundle on itch.io where you could pay what you want for 174 different items. That said, you did have to pay $10 to unlock everything but it was a small price to play. Furthermore, they ran a live fundraiser on Twitch between March 30th and April 1st which included talks from developers.

While this was dubbed as a way to counteract the negative effects of GDC being cancelled, GDC was cancelled because of coronavirus concerns so I felt it appropriate to include it.

Rockstar

The development behemoth that is Rockstar said they’d donate 5% of revenue from GTA Online and Red Dead Online to businesses and communities affected by the coronavirus.

While this might seem like a paltry amount, 5% of anything Rockstar does will easily amount to a lot of money. However, with this money predominantly coming from microtransactions, it seems like a bit of a poisoned chalice to me.

Razer

Razer has turned their attention from manufacturing hardware to masks. Several manufacturing lines are being dedicated to the production of masks and they hope to make a million of them. Once made, Razer will then distribute the masks to where they’re most needed.

Ninja

While not technically a company, Ninja has the earnings of one (around $500,000 a month!) and used some of his fortune to donate $150,000 to Feeding America, a charity that operates food banks and provides meals to the vulnerable.

For him, the coronavirus clearly isn’t just a game. Thanks, Ninja!

Please let us know in the comments about anyone in the industry who deserve our praise on account of how they’re helping during these tough times!

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