In the last few years, the online world of video gaming has rapidly grown as a global industry, with an estimated 1.5 billion active gamers worldwide. The face of Australian video gaming is changing too and so are the preconceptions that come along with it. With the average gamer now being 32, and women making up 47% of the gaming population, the community has become more diverse than ever before.
Not surprisingly, the industry has given rise to gaming influencers: people who live stream their game-play for others to watch and learn from, typically via dedicated video game live streaming platforms like Twitch. In return for streaming their skills, gaming influencers invite fans to make a donation via a button on the platform. Twitch has rapidly grown since it launched in 2011 as a live streaming video platform. Owned by Twitch Interactive, a subsidiary of Amazon.com, the platform focuses on video gaming, including playthroughs of video games, broadcasts of e-sport competitions, creative content and music broadcasts.
What does this mean for nonprofits?
Given that Twitch streamers and their viewers are already used to making donations, it should come as no surprise that savvy charities have spied a fundraising opportunity in this space. The term 'gaming for good' describes the process by which gamers live stream, often over a 24-hour period, and donate the funds raised to a particular nonprofit. It's a low-cost, easy-execution activity with figures that are too compelling to ignore: over $75 million has been raised globally for good causes by Twitch gamers since 2012.
When it comes to charity streams, US gamers have been leading the way for many years. ExtraLife is one of the largest charity streaming events in America, raising over $40 million since its inception in 2008 and growing into a community of over 100,000 gamers. Another leading example out of the US is Games Done Quick - an event that raised $2.2 million this year and $14 million throughout its seven-year history. Although charity streams are still emerging in Australia, some events are starting to make an impact for nonprofits. GenerOzity is a guerrilla popup event, that took place over the Australia Day long weekend this year. In just over 84 hours, 60 gamers raised $18,000 for mental health charity, CheckPoint. In February, the team at Everydayhero joined JustGiving and Blackbaud to participate in GameBlast 2018. The charity stream raised over $100,000 for SpecialEffect - a UK-based nonprofit that uses video games and technology to enhance the quality of life for people living with disabilities.
Last year, Everydayhero ran its first-ever live stream event: We'll Do it Live
This one-day event connected gaming influencers with the causes they love, in order to raise funds and awareness. The event opened new doors for nonprofits such as the Starlight Children's Foundation, who invited one gaming influencer to live stream from the Starlight Express room- an incredible opportunity for both the nonprofit and gamer. In an increasingly crowded marketplace, nonprofits are working harder than ever to stand out and engage fundraisers in new and innovative campaigns. This is where 'gaming for good' can help. Through charity streams, nonprofits gain access to a new audience that might not have engaged with them otherwise.
Photo credit: Starlight Children's Foundation
With new technologies rapidly emerging such as virtual reality, the video gaming industry shows no sign of slowing down. In fact, the industry is estimated to grow to around $90 billion worldwide by 2020. This is an exciting time for nonprofits who are ready to level-up and unlock new opportunities in fundraising.