How Video Game Companies Are Raising Money to Support the Coronavirus Fight

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From a fundraising event on Twitch to a five-week charity tournament, the industry is emphasizing a sense of unity amid the current global pandemic.

With the goal of supporting those affected by the coronavirus outbreak, many esports and gaming organizations are coming together to host live-stream events amid the global pandemic that currently sees almost all Americans social-distancing to curb the crisis.

Esports franchise Tempo Storm will host a four-day live-stream event to raise money and awareness for charities involved in the relief effort, including Feeding America, a network of food banks; and CARE, a humanitarian organization that provides disaster relief to areas in need. 

The live stream, titled "Tempo's Sleepless Nights," will begin Friday and run 24 hours a day through Monday on Tempo's channel via the Amazon-owned Twitch platform. In addition to many games and creators making appearances, viewers will have the chance to connect with the community during the online event.

Tempo Storm is founded by Andrey Yanyuk and commonly features Hearthstone, Rainbow Six Siege and PUBG players and personalities. 

Elsewhere, CD Projekt RED, developer of the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077 game, donated 4 million PLN (over $950,000 USD) toward the coronavirus fight. In revealing the news via LinkedIn, co-founder Marcin Iwinski wrote, "Collaborating with Fundacja Wielka Orkiestra Pomocy, an established Polish NGO with over 20 years of medical equipment fundraising history, today we donated a sum of 4 million PLN to combat the spread of COVID-19 in Poland. We'd like to thank all the brave souls who fight for our well-being every day and hope these funds help in your effort to rid us of the virus."

Esports companies Gaud-Hammer Gaming Group, Ultimate Gaming Championship and Beasley Esports are partnering for Shutdown Showdown, a five-week Apex Legends charity tournament "to promote and reward those fighting against the spread of COVID-19 by staying home."

The event, set to run Tuesday through April 28 via Twitch and Mixer, will involve teams competing against each other in matches on UGC's competitive gaming platform. 

Safety messages, urging the gaming community to stay home and practice health habits, will be integrated throughout the broadcast. Proceeds from the event (including 40 percent of each registrant's fee) will go to the national nonprofit campaign No Kid Hungry. 

"The gaming community is tightly-knit and the instinct to come together is strong, especially during this time of global crisis," said Anthony Gaud, CEO of Gaud-Hammer Gaming Group, in a statement. 

He continued: "The 'Shutdown Showdown' was conceived as a means to utilize the time gamers are being asked to stay indoors into something meaningful and impactful. With proceeds going to 'No Kid Hungry,’ this event will help provide vulnerable kids with nutritious food during these extremely uncertain times. If successful, the 'Shutdown Showdown' will continue after the COVID-19 crisis has passed, so that gamers can continue to make the world a better place."

Games Done Quick, the organization behind speedrunning events such as Awesome Games Done Quick, will host a marathon next month to raise money for coronavirus relief. Taking place from April 17-19, the event will be livestreamed on GDQ's Twitch channel, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to Direct Relief nonprofit organization that offers resources in times of critical need.

On March 28, French video game company Ubisoft participated in Twitch Stream Aid, an event to benefit the COVID-19 Solidarity Relief Fund, pledging $150,000 to the fund. They also announced on Tuesday a month-long series of offers, game trials and discounts for players to enjoy during this time of social distancing and remaining indoors. The campaign begins with platformer Rayman Legends, and will include Assassin's Creed and Just Dance in the coming weeks. More information can be found here.

Meanwhile, publisher Take-Two Interactive continues to support Covenant House, which provides services for homeless youth and is now facing the need to create isolation areas for those exhibiting symptoms of the coronavirus.

With many of its members employed in the hospitality industry, 85 percent have lost their jobs over the last few weeks since the pandemic put a stop to all non-essential work. Among Covenant House's 18 U.S. locations, 12 are currently affected by Shelter-in-Place or "Safer at Home" mandates, which has caused costs to spike and facilitated the need for emergency plans. 

Take-Two also announced on April 1 that throughout the months of April and May, 5 percent of net bookings (after platform fees) from in-game purchases in its titles Grand Theft Auto Online, Red Dead Online, NBA 2K20, NBA 2K19 and Dragon City, as well as full-game digital sales of The Outer Worlds, will be donated to various organizations fighting the pandemic.