Ukraine war: Fortnite owner Epic Games raises £37m for humanitarian efforts

A page for buying currency to spend in Fortnite. It says that proceeds will go to charities aiding Ukraine.

Epic Games

Epic Games says it has raised more than $50m (£37m) to aid humanitarian efforts in Ukraine.

The Fortnite publisher announced on 21 March it would donate all proceeds from in-game sales, including cosmetic in-game items and virtual currency bought in a shop or online, until 3 April.

And Xbox is donating the fee it would usually take on items bought by players in Fortnite.

The amount raised so far is greater than that given by some countries.

A statement on the Fortnite website said it would send funds “as quickly as we can”.

“We’re not waiting for the actual funds to come in from our platform and payment partners, which can take a while depending on how the transaction was processed. As transactions are reported, we’ll log them and send the funds to the humanitarian relief organisations within days.”

Epic is sending money to Unicef, Direct Relief, the UN Refugee Agency, and the UN World Food Programme.

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Epic’s fundraising joins other efforts by games companies and their fans to raise money for the victims of the war in Ukraine.

Humble Bundle, for example, sells collections of video games online, with proceeds usually benefitting both the developers and charities.

But in its latest offering, Humble has raised more than £10m exclusively for charities benefitting Ukraine. It is providing a bundle of 120 games and items usually valued at more than £1,800 that it now offers for a minimum donation of only £30.52.

Kamini Tiwari, vice-president of social impact at Humble, praised the players who have put up their money to get the games. “We’re very, very happy that our community is leaning in to support us,” she said. “I think they also, like us, recognise that need is so great.

“We are constantly humbled – pardon the pun – by our community. Throughout the year, and particularly during times of crisis and disaster, it’s been great to see that across the gaming industry so many others are leaning in as well.”

Chucklefish Games, makers of WarGroove and Starbound, is one of the independent developers based in London that has offered up its games to the bundle.

Alexis Trust, communications manager at the studio, said she felt it was their “duty to help those in need”.

She said the firm’s partners, Lithuania-based Hidden Layer Games, which made the game Inmost, is “a two-man team from Ukraine and Russia”.

“Throughout the project the team experienced first-hand the difficulty of working between borders during a time of political tension, and so made the difficult decision to move together to Lithuania where their dream project could actually become a reality.

“When the Russian military invaded Ukraine, we felt that it was our duty to extend that help to other families in whatever capacity we could.”

A screenshot from the indie game Wargroove

Chucklefish Games

But Humble isn’t the only bundle right now aiming to help those in Ukraine. There is also the now-completed bundle, which raised £4.7m by offering up 1,000 games in exchange for a minimum donation of £7.56.

Brandon Sheffield, creative director of Necrosoft Games, organised the bundle. He told the BBC he thinks the cause “really resonated with people”.

And, he said, it was surprisingly easy to persuade developers of indie hits like Celeste and Superhot to help.

“Believe it or not, it didn’t take very much convincing at all,” he said. “Everyone was pretty much ready to help. The publisher Raw Fury joined the platform just so that they could put four of their games into this.”

The charities which benefitted from the bundle were International Medical Corps, as well as the Voices of Children Foundation – a Ukrainian charity which provides support to children affected by trauma caused by war.

“I feel like that’s incredibly important for the future of Ukraine,” Mr Sheffield said. “I chose this local organisation that’s already there.

“Because they’re there, they’ve been like impromptu shelters, going around and using the money that they’ve been donated to try to protect the people in Kyiv and other places where they can actually access them.”

And Andy Pearson, chief marketing officer of British publisher PQube Games, that has donated games for the bundle, compared what was happening in the games industry to some of the big musical fundraising events of the past.

“It’s phenomenal. It exceeded the initial expectations and then continued to go on from there.

“It was amazing. I am thinking now – has this been done before? And it has – it’s like Live Aid – those big, big events where you had lots of creators all coming together in one versus a single person trying to contribute. That’s what’s really helped establish this.”


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