” We may have a different religion, different language, different coloured skin, but we all belong to one human race.” -Kofi AnnanNeedless to say that, video games offer opportunities for players to explore, practice, and re-enforce cultural and social identities. There are lot of things which are predominantly created and played by one racial group that can unintentionally perpetuate racial stereo-types and thus limited choices reflected to preconceived notions of racial bias. While the world is battling to COVID-19 together, another darker side of the society has popped up. A viral video has shown cops pinning down and found responsible for George Floyd death (caught on camera), the grassroots activism spoke to a long-standing link between police violence against African Americans and environmental justice. Sooner various autopsy reports told Floyd’s death as a homicide caused by cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression. The world condemned and started speaking up for ‘Justice for Floyd’ which further escalated and reflected as the racial conflict of colour ‘Black Lives Matter’ since many believe Floyd is not the only one who faced racial violence and societal injustice. Soon after many hoisted in support of racial injustice irrespective of the diversity of colour, race, and more. The gaming sector unites in support of ‘Black Life Matters’ and has expressed their thought all over the internet. Gaming companies in support of the movement After protests erupted in cities all over the United States in response to the police killing of George Floyd, a large number of studios and other game companies have stepped forward in support of ‘Black Lives Matter’ and other organisations like the NAACP and Color of Change. Companies from all corners of the industry have made contributions while encouraging others to do the same.
- Grand Theft Auto Online and Red Dead Online are temporarily being shut down on Thursday to support the Black Lives Matter movement and in memory of George Floyd’s death, Rockstar Games announced this week. The online extensions of Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption 2 will be taken offline from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. ET, Rockstar Games said.
- Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox, who have made a rare show of uniting online on the issue of long overdue racial justice. Sony to delay its PlayStation 5 reveal event from 4June to an undisclosed later date. Depending on the protests’ course and duration, Microsoft may also ultimately push back some of its own Xbox Series X announcements to avoid stealing any of the Black Lives Matter movement’s spotlight and looking insensitive to players.
- Epic Games has postponed Chapter 2 Season 3 of Fortnite once again, this time in light of the ongoing nationwide protests in the US. The live event The Device will be delayed to Monday, 15June, and the Season 3 launch delayed to Wednesday, 17June. Epic posted heartfelt letter on their official blog post addressing the Fortnite community: “Recent events are a heavy reminder of ongoing injustices in society, from the denial of basic human rights to the impact of racism both overt and subtle against people of color. We’re acutely aware of the pain our friends, families, team members, players, and communities are experiencing.We believe in equality and justice, diversity and inclusion, and that these fundamentals are above politics.The team is eager to move Fortnite forward, but we need to balance the Season 3 launch with time for the team to focus on themselves, their families, and their communities.”
- Pokemon Go developer Niantic is donating proceeds from Pokemon Go Fest 2020 ticket sales, committing to a minimum of $5 million, to “Black gaming and AR creators that can live on the Niantic platform” and “US nonprofit organisations that are helping local communities rebuild.” It is also donating $100,000 to the Marsha P. Johnson Institute while also matching employee donations up to another $50,00.
We stand with the Black community & against white supremacy, racism, & police brutality & condemn the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Nina Pop & countless others. Here’s how we’re committing to change #BlackLivesMatter https://t.co/jfYGinhl2e pic.twitter.com/Y0P3f1E2PQ— Niantic, Inc. (@NianticLabs) June 3, 2020
- EA is donating $1 million to the Equal Justice Initiative, the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, and other organizations in the future. It is also double matching any funds people donate through their YourCause program during the month of June.
- Ubisoft is making a $100,000 contribution to the NAACP and Black Lives Matter while encouraging others to donate.
We stand in solidarity with Black team members, players, and the Black community. We are making a $100,000 contribution to the NAACP and Black Lives Matter and encourage those who are able to, to donate. #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/KpHZCF6VWx— Ubisoft (@Ubisoft) June 2, 2020
- Activision has pushed back the launches of two major seasonal updates for the Call of Duty Season 4 of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Warzone and Season 7 of Call of Duty: Mobile have been delayed in the wake of the movement
- Humble Bundle has announced a $1 million fund with the sole purpose to help develop games made by black developers. This announcement was made yesterday during Blackout Tuesday, which was a movement designed to highlight and support black creators in all fields. Black creators in film, TV, art, video games, and more were all included in the movement yesterday. Humble Bundle also asked its users to support the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or Race Forward, as these organizations currently can’t be picked as supportable charities through Humble Bundle purchases.
- Bossa Studios, the developer of the Surgeon Simulator series, is also donating $100 for every employee and matching individual employee donations made to Black Lives Matter.
- Twitch can be termed as a rather white platform, with 2018 data showing that 71.5 per cent of streamers and viewers identify as white. Historically, Twitch has struggled on race-related issues, as exemplified by the platform’s problems with racist emotes over the years. Amazon owned Twitch also steps out in support to the movement
pic.twitter.com/XJeAKTYkrh — Twitch (@Twitch) June 3, 2020
- Nintendo of America also decided to publish a statement regarding the Black Lives Matter campaign on racial equality
- Fusebox Games, the developer of Love Island, donated all of its profits made Wednesday, 2June, to the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, a U.K. charity that helps disadvantaged youth.
- io is creating a pay-what-you-want Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. When users make a minimum $5 purchase, the funds will be split between the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and ActBlue’s Community Bail Fund. This bundle will be available from 5 to 15 June. The developer of Journey, that game company, is making a $20,000 donation to Black Lives Matter and the NAACP.
- Games Done Quick has also made a $2,500 donation to Lake Street Council’s “We Love Lake Street,” which is a project supporting the rebuilding of small businesses and nonprofits on Lake Street in Minneapolis. They have also pledged that all the revenue made by Twitch subscriptions and bit donations during the month of June will be donated to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
- Square Enix has pledged $250,000 to support Black Lives Matter and other charities including Showing Up for Racial Justice, the Antiracist Research and Policy Center, Equal Justice Initiative, and Colorlines, and has also promised to match individual employee donations. The Evolution Championship Series, or EVO, has likewise donated $7,500 each to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the We Love Lake Street project.