Video games make money, who knew?
Games are a $93 billion industry impacting many established organisations and creating many new ones. Now they’ve become a fast-growing focus for charitable organisations: sponsored marathon games are played for charity, game packages are sold and proceeds sent to charity, and the actual game packs are donated for use by those less fortunate.
The speed-running community have made a name for themselves lately with their charity marathons. The aim of a speed-run is to beat a game as fast as possible, and all games are on the table, whether they’re high budget shooters or just popular browser games. Popular speed runs range from the classics like Super Mario Bros on the Nintendo Entertainment System, with a world record time of 0:04:57, to new releases such as The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, cut down from an average of 90 hours to 2:20:57.
Regulars of popular speed-running forum Speed Demos Archive began their charity work with Classic Games Done Quick in 2010, headed by site director Mike Uyama. The event was then split in 2011, speed-runners could now attend either Awesome Games Done Quick in January, or its summer variant in July. Viewers can watch the stream on Twitch and donate for various incentives, such as more difficult game modes or different story endings. The latter has birthed the bizarre quote “kill the animals” a reference to the faster ending for Nintendo’s Super Metroid on the Super Nintendo, as opposed to seeking the animals out and wasting time.
The marathons have been dedicated to the Prevent Cancer Foundation and Doctors Without Borders respectively. The January event has raised more than $1.5 million for cancer awareness this year. The money was collected from viewer donations and from merchandise sale through clothing site theyetee.com and from Humble Bundle.
Humble Bundle is yet another video game charity that has blossomed recently, allowing users to pay what they want for a collection of games. However the more you pay, the more you get. The site cycles through charities, and as of 2013 had raised $20 million.
One such charity, Child’s Play, works through “gift wish lists full of video games, toys, books, and other fun stuff for kids”, specifically for those who live in shelters or are hospitalised. The charity has raised more than $34.7 million since 2003, and is growing.
Summer Games Done Quick begins on Monday the July 27; the full games schedules can be seen here. – Chris Pirina
Top photo from Games Done Quick website.