Gamers can be proud that their community has contributed a lot of funds to a plethora of charities from support for children in war torn areas to conservation efforts for wild animals. Through partnerships with organizations like Humble Bundle, developers are able to help raise money for charities in a big way. Some may be surprised to know that Sega, the company behind popular franchises Sonic and Total War, has been a major player in the gaming charity world.
Having done more Humble Bundles than any other company (10) Sega has raised over $2million for a variety of charities through the store. When it comes to what charities they support the company likes to chose causes that are relevant to their games and developers – whether it be pertinent to the content of their game or something local to the team so that they understand the impact their charitable efforts will have.
Sega’s James Schall told Gameindustry,
“For example, Creative Assembly wanted to do something for elephants, because in one of the Total Wars games there are elephants that get killed, and they felt a little bit guilty about it. So we met a charity called Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary, which is based in Thailand. That has been a particularly good partnership.”
Even though these developers are trying to support a worthy cause, not all charities are interested in working with the video game industry. Facing stigma and misconceptions about gamers and their favorite hobby have, many charities have turned down partnerships with Sega according to representatives John Clark and James Schall. Some charitable groups like Boon Lott and the Whale & Dolphin Conservation were reluctant to work with industry groups like Sega but were eventually convinced by the beneficial partnerships.
Sega would like to encourage other developers to be more involved in raising money for charity. Schall explains,
“We hope people will do more. We have found a way through all of that and we have internal royalties, licences and restrictions, just like everyone else. If you have a charity you are really fond of, you can do it and keep doing it. And the more you do it, the easier it is to do again.”
One of the reasons Humble Bundle works well for big companies like Sega is that it allows them to still make a profit while supporting charities. Humble Bundle, Sega and the charities are all getting a cut and the amounts everyone gets is very transparent which gives gamers and everyone involved confidence that the process is fair. Sega also benefits from the fact that providing bundles helps them reach a new audience who will likely become customers when DLC for a game they got through a bundle is later released.
Sega is very happy with their involvement with Humble Bundle and plans on doing more bundles in the future. They also participate in other charitable works outside of the online store and have helped groups like Yogscast and Nomad Games with their own charitable efforts. By working together both developers and charity groups can reach a wider audience and help make the world a better place.