On November 3, annual event Extra Life will bring gamers together for a good cause. Over 100,000 players across North America, from streamers to speedrunners, will be committing to their own 24-hour-long marathons – playing games of all types to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network hospitals in their local area.

Thanks to many annual events, like Extra Life, video gaming has become a fantastic way to raise money for worthwhile charities but there have been a few other ways that gamers have been able to give back over the years.

Here are just a few examples:

Limited-time cosmetic skins

When going in for the pentakill, players want to look good doing it, so an aesthetically pleasing character model is a necessity for some. For those in the “completionist” category, owning every cosmetic skin available can make them feel like they have “finished” the game in some way.

Developers know that a large percentage of their player-base will buy a shiny new skin, so they have taken the initiative and created a number of in-game skins to raise funds for worthy causes – giving millions to charities across the world.

League of Legends –

Dark Star Cho’Gath

(Source: Riot Games)

This year Riot Games made an 18-year old cancer patient’s dream come true by allowing him to design his own League of Legends skin.

Bryan, who was diagnosed with osteosarcoma – a form of bone cancer – was contacted by Riot as part of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. As an avid LoL player and a self-professed, “Cho-Gath one trick”, Bryan was able to visit Riot and pitch his ideas to animators. Riot ended up liking the skin so much, they decided to sell the skin to the public – donating the proceeds from the skin to various charities.

Championship Ashe

(Source: Riot Games)

Championship Ashe was a major success in 2017. The skin, along with a 2017 Championship ward, helped raise $2.35 million for three different charities: BasicNeeds, Learning Equality, The Rasberry Pi Foundation.

In a post by Riot Games, the developer expressed their gratitude towards the LoL community, applauding them on their combined effort.

“You’re not just a global player community, but a group of people who will impact lives through your contribution.”

Overwatch – Pink Mercy

(Source: Blizzard)

Earlier this year, Blizzard released a new pink skin for the guardian angel of Overwatch, Mercy. Players had the opportunity to purchase the pink skin and other pink-themed merchandise, with all proceeds going to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF). Overall, the campaign raised $12.7 million towards breast cancer research in its two week duration, an amazing feat which helped fund three new programs into the research of breast cancer.

(Source: Blizzard and BCRF)

Limited time in-game rewards

World of Warcraft – In-game Pets and Stuffed Toys

Since 2009, Blizzard has set a precedent by creating content and merchandise for their games to raise money for charity. From the Pandaren Monk pet to the latest Shadow the Fox pet, WoW has helped donate to different charities for almost a decade. This has allowed players to help make a difference to lives across the world. As of this year, players have raised a total of over $15 million dollars.

Shadow the Fox helped raise $1.8 million to support disaster relief funds for both the American Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (Source: Blizzard)

What can players do now?

While these events currently only occur on an annual basis, you can still make a difference. With Extra Life 2018 coming up, you can support the streamers participating on the day. You can find a number of streaming groups here but there will definitely be more on the day.

Steam also promotes a number of games-for-good-causes through its curation service, with one specifically called Charity Games. This curator showcases games that donate their proceeds to charity and help raise awareness for important issues in society today. So if you want to play some great games while also supporting worthwhile causes, check out Charity Games here.

Have you been involved with any of the charity events mentioned? What do you think of developers creating content specifically for fundraising? Let us know!

When I’m not addressing my addiction to Overwatch, I like to dabble in the odd JRPG with some favourites coming from the Final Fantasy franchise. I’m a sucker for games with great stories and fantastic music but I also love a good nostalgia trip with some oldies but goodies. I’m currently studying Journalism at the University of Technology Sydney and as a video games enthusiast, I love being able to report on them to my heart's content.