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Fortnite owner Epic Games raises $36M to support Ukraine

The creators of the popular online video game Fortnite have raised more than $36 million US in a single day, after promising to send all the money raised from sales of a new version of the game to support humanitarian efforts in Ukraine.

Video game companies, websites are showing support for Ukraine through fundraisers

An attendee stops to text next to a sign for Fortnite at E3, the annual video games expo revealing the latest in gaming software and hardware, in Los Angeles on June 12, 2019. (Mike Blake/Reuters)

The creators of the popular online video game Fortnite have raised more than $36 million US in a single day, after promising to send all the money raised from sales of a new version of the game to support humanitarian efforts in Ukraine.

On Sunday, Epic Games announced that all proceeds from sales of Fortnite from that day until April 3 would be donated to "humanitarian relief for people affected by the war in Ukraine."

Their statement says Xbox will also be donating all of their net proceeds from Fortnite during this time period. 

The choice of the sales window is significant, since the company released the latest version of its best-selling game that day.

A day later, the company said it had already raised $36 million US.

The humanitarian relief organizations that will receive the proceeds include UNICEF, UNHCR, Direct Relief and the United Nations World Food Program.

Promising future for philanthropy in gaming space

Paul Nazareth, who has worked for 20 years as a philanthropy specialist in Toronto, says gaming has become a thriving environment for social causes. 

Nazareth pointed to a Twitch stream where U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez raised over $200,000 for food pantries, eviction defence legal aid and community support organizations. 

"Gaming is going to become the new golf tournament," he said, adding that a new generation that's increasingly online is reshaping where fundraisers take place. 

Philanthropy specialist Paul Nazareth said the video gaming space is becoming a thriving environment for philanthropic causes. (Laura DaSilva/CBC )

Nazareth says these fundraisers also educate younger generations about social causes and keep them involved in their communities.

"Connecting to causes is even more powerful than just the money," he said. 

Nazareth cautioned, however, that transparency is important to ensure people know where the money is going and how it will be used. 

Gaming retailers show solidarity with Ukraine

Epic Games isn't the only one fundraising money for humanitarian relief in Ukraine in the gaming space. 

Humble Bundle, a digital storefront for video games, launched a one-week fundraising campaign supporting humanitarian efforts in Ukraine on March 18. According to their website, the initiative has raised over $14 million. 

And a fundraiser by itch.io, a website for users to host, sell and download indie games, that concluded on March 18 raised over $6 million.

With files from the CBC's Meegan Read

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