Fortnite owner Epic Games raises $36 million to support Ukraine

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

On Sunday, Epic Games announced that all profits from Fortnite sales from that day until April 3 would be donated to “humanitarian aid for people affected by the war in Ukraine.”

Their statement indicates that Xbox will also be donating all of its net Fortnite revenue during this time.

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

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

The aid organizations that will receive the funds are UNICEF, UNHCR, Direct Relief and the United Nations World Food Programme.

A bright future for philanthropy in the gaming space

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

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

“Gaming is going to be the new golf tournament,” he said, adding that a new generation that is increasingly online is reshaping where fundraising takes place.

Philanthropy scholar Paul Nazareth says the video game 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 money,” he said.

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

Game retailers show solidarity with Ukraine

Epic Games isn’t alone in raising funds for humanitarian aid in Ukraine in the gaming space.

Humble Bundle, a digital storefront for video games, launched a week-long fundraising campaign to support humanitarian efforts in Ukraine on March 18. According to their websitethe initiative raised more than $14 million.

And one fundraising by itch.ioa website for users to host, sell and download indie games, which closed on March 18 has raised over $6 million.