There has been a lot of negativity around gaming in the last few weeks, from the World Health Organization declaring gaming addiction as a mental health disorder to the reappearance of mainstream media claiming gaming makes people violent. Thankfully, we’ve got a feel good story to rebuff some of the bad vibes.
Gaming and gamers have always faced an uphill battle in mainstream society. First it was anti-social and nerdy, then gaming made people violent, then gamers turned on each other for having the audacity to enjoy games on different platforms, then Drake played Fortnite, and now games make people violent again.
However, there has been one shining light that has always shown the true nature of most gamers: Charity.
There are countless examples. A quick Google search prior to writing this article made sure there was no way in hell we were going to have the patience to detail all of the good that gamers have done for charity. Which in itself should tell you how much money has been raised, because we’re pretty patient people (GLHF: You can probably tell by the average length of our articles.).
As of July last year, Twitch announced that more than $75 million had been raised for charity on its platform alone. Anyone who has watched a charity stream on Twitch will not be surprised by that number.
There is an online shop called Humble Bundle that gives money to charity every time you buy a game, which has led to joint events such as the Yogscast Jingle Jam, who teamed up with Humble Bundle to raise more than $5 million in December last year alone.
Entire charitable organisations such as Xtra Life have sprung up due to gamers’ seemingly insatiable desire to give to good causes.
Maybe it’s an inverse reaction to all the toxic salt build up. But more likely it’s just that people are inherently good, and allowing them the space to express that in a relatable environment is a natural recipe for success.
Anyway, why are we going down this feel good trip? Well, in part to remind you that gamers aren’t evil, but mostly because there is an exciting event on the horizon for the South African gaming scene: The RustyPieLover CANSA Charity Livestream on 30 June.
The stream kicks off at 12am and will include some games of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Five Nights at Freddy’s, Dark Souls, Getting Over It (GLHF: We’re quite surprised he’s already managed to get over the last time he played it.), Fortnite, Overwatch and an Dota 2 exhibition match between professional teams eXdee Gaming and Sinister5.
We spoke to Rusty to get his thoughts on why gaming and charity is the most explosively successful combination since Techies and Tiny.
“I think in this day and age, where everyone is either gaming or involved in esports, we have a common ground, and with that common ground, doing any sort of charity event brings us all closer together, both in gaming and trying to change the world for the better.
As gamers, on some level we resonate and understand each other. And it makes us feel better when we do good through something that is our love and passion, even if its through co-building a house in Sims XD.”
According to Cloud from eXdee it’s all about the example that esports stars and streamers set, while using the influence they have gained to do good.
“Streamers and players become role models to the general community. People don’t only want to be them, they want to act like them. A lot of streamers have good hearts and they do all they can in their power to help a charity, which the streamer’s community supports because that might be their way of also supporting the streamer.”
While Adastam from Sinister 5 has a very practical view of the whole situation, while pointing out probably one of the most important aspects of charity streaming.
“Charity is good no matter where it comes from and I think everyone understands the importance of it. It provides people the opportunity to give back to the community. Money well spent.
The majority of us already donate to streamers we enjoy, so when it’s a charity for a good cause you’re even more likely to donate for being entertained. Charity is something we can all get behind and it’s just so much easier to donate this way.
It also brings awareness to a younger audience for that specific cause as these days the gaming generation don’t get exposed to some of the problems in the world.”
For Lucy Balona, Head of Marketing & Communication at CANSA, Adastam’s final point is key. The methods of past generations of raising awareness and money are just ineffective these days. How successful can a telethon be if no-one watches TV anymore? How full can the little tin cans for coins in shops get if everyone buys all their stuff online?
“We hope to get a new younger audience or an audience that has not yet experienced our brand.
Cancer affects everyone, no matter the socio-economic background or age or ethnic background, and by partnering or getting involved with us, we can educate gamers about ways to lower the cancer risk and also to be there for them if they have loved ones affected or if they themselves are affected.”
When brands look at the potential of esports, a huge part of the value they see is in the demographics of people who play and it’s awesome that same logic can be applied for good too.
In terms of expectations for the stream, Rusty is keeping his feet firmly planted on the ground, but he does have a special surprise for anyone in a giving mood.
“Honestly, even if one person comes along to watch or donate, the stream is a success. [The size of the cheque] is up to the viewers, who will be greeted by something… amazing whenever they donate ;).”
We’re going to have to give him some money to find out what that is now. Well played sir.
Whether you’ve participated in a charity stream before or not, maybe you’re not even a gamer or haven’t heard of RustyPieLover before, we recommend popping your head in on the 30th. There’s something really special that happens when gamers come together with a common purpose.
And if you don’t believe us, listen to Adastam.
“Charity streams are a lot of fun and you can enjoy it with friends too and donating isn’t hard at all and you don’t have to donate much, every small bit makes the worlds difference.”