Small indie store raises big money for charity

Last night ended the best bundle deal on any gaming platform. Ever. For the last 10 days the small PC gaming store, Itch.io, ran the most successful bundle ever for gaming. What started as a generously “small” bundle of 740 items ranging from games, tabletop RPGs, soundtracks, and game assets, ended with over 1700 contributions and made one of the best gaming deals ever and an amazing show of support for the Black Lives Matter Movement from Game creators and players.

When the Bundle was first launched the expectation was to reach $100,000 USD for the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund and community Bail Fund being split 50/50. This was shattered by raising over $1 million in under the first 24 hours the bundle was live and it showed zero signs of stopping. When all was said and done the bundle raised a grand total of $8,175,545.67 from 814,675 contributors and 1361 creators at an average donation of $10.04 and a top donation of $5,000, making it one of the largest totals ever raised from Itch.

What unfolded?

During these 10 days, watching this amazing act all unfold, I was paying attention to other storefronts. Watching to see what they were doing. How they will use their platform to help our society and to better their communities. In doing this I saw some telling things:

Humble Bundle used its platform by preparing a $1 million fund for helping publish games by black developers.

Sony shared messages of support which was also shown by their partner studios. They moved their PS5 launch event 1 week, explaining that “we want to stand back and allow more important voices to be heard.”

Xbox & Microsoft used their platform to not just support but amplify black and African American voices.

Nintendo rounded off the console market with their message of support for the Black Lives Matter movement too. All three major platforms have publicly shown support.

So having seen these I went back to check on the PC market. The three big storefronts on PC gaming would be Steam (Valve), Good Ole Games (GOG), and Epic Games Store. So I went digging through Storefronts, twitter and Facebook looking for acts of support, actions taken, and anything from these companies really.

Epic Games store posted a tweet showing support for the movement.

The remaining big 2

Now GOG and Steam were hard to find anything. In fact, I found zero public support so I had to do a little more digging.

GOG has a history of public announcements that have blown up in its face and taking that into account I figured that’s why nothing had been said. I reached out to a source and they did say that while nothing publicly has been stated, they have said something to their partners and done something substantial for the cause. It pains me that this isn’t public and that due to NDA I couldn’t get more, but I trust the person and if they’re satisfied then I am.

So that leaves us with Steam, and frankly my whole reason for going on this long list of showing the public support these large companies have given. Sure some could be written off as lip service and I understand, but at least they said SOMETHING.

Racism is a problem with our hobby. It’s prevalent still to this day and it’s disgusting. Just look at steams forums and you’ll see it. This was a chance to use their platform, the largest PC games store, to take a stand. To show that they will not tolerate it and will stand to fight with those marginalized by systemic racism and hate. Instead, they’ve chosen to be quiet. Now to be fair they did give the Guerrilla Collective a storefront for games created by black developers, but that too was never announced from Steam. 

They may have done something internal like GOG has and had everyone be silent about it, but to that, I say why? Is it because you know you’ll anger a large swath of your community? All these other companies came out in support. Why can’t you? Staying silent, regardless of what you do behind closed doors and with an NDA, is just being complicit in the atrocities that have been going on.

Pay attention to those that said something. To those that did not ignore the issue and were not quiet. Even if it was a blanket “We support the movement” statement, at least it was something. Those being quiet are complicit and people have noticed. I will definitely rethink where I spend my money. Will you?

To those looking to help out the Black Lives Matter cause you can find more information here https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/

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