When the Republic of Haiti suffered a devastating earthquake on January 12th, groups around the world struggled to give as much aid as possible. Proving that gamers are givers, several MMO companies rushed to provide
a way for their players to donate to registered relief aid charities like the Red Cross. Sony Online Entertainment
raised over $25,000 in just three days
by selling in-game items in Free Realms
and EverQuest II
. They donated 100% of the proceeds to charity and even added $10 of their own money for each purchase made.
ran their own EVE Online "PLEX Aid for Haiti" initiative
where players were encouraged to buy PLEX and then contract them to the "CCP PLEX for Haiti" character in-game. Even PLEX purchased in-game with ISK helped the appeal
as every two PLEX contracted to CCP equaled $35 US Dollars of cash that was bought but not converted into game time. CCP could then donate the full $35 without making a loss. It was a clever scheme that allowed players who were short on cash but rich in-game to donate real money to charity.
CCP have just announced that so far the total tally of PLEX donated to the appeal has reached 2,290
, which has a real cash value of just over $40,000 US dollars. One player donated a staggering 341 PLEX, which has an in-game value of over 88 billion ISK and makes a real world donation of almost $6,000. Of note is the revelation that only 1.4% of the donated PLEX were bought directly for cash, while players buying the PLEX using their spare ISK contributed the remaining 98.6%. That's a testament both to the generosity of gamers and the innovative system CCP used to collect aid. Hopefully we'll see this strategy used in future when someone is in desperate need of aid as it has proven very successful. For those that still want to donate, CCP are currently still accepting donations of PLEX to help the people of Haiti.