Between May 8th and May 21st Blizzard have created some of the most noblest DLC out there for the popular team based shooter, Overwatch. The content includes a new pink skin for Mercy, the majestic team healer where the proceeds go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. So not only will you be healing your fellow teammates you’ll be providing support to the most common cause of cancer out there. In a way, you’ll be healing someone in real life too.
With it’s highly stylised visuals and upbeat characters Overwatch is the perfect game to champion positive change. The voice actor behind Mercy, Lucie Pohl really defines how impactful this cause is by posting on twitter; “Powerful, beautiful and so necessary! Thank u
@PlayOverwatch 4 giving a platform to this very real issue affecting so many people all over the world! I’m so honored & humbled to be a part of this”
Normally DLC comes across as money-grubbing, sometimes significant features and even player progression of a game are locked behind paywalls. Blizzard however, are the exception to this, they believe that the passion and dedication of gaming community can be an incredibly powerful way of highlighting issues such as these and not just a cash cow that can be milked for profit. Providing this DLC is both fun and thought provoking, it’s such a creative way to fundraise and raise awareness to serious issues. With more people playing video games and using streaming services online it only makes sense to utilise the market for fundraising. How amazing would it be to see a video game version of something akin to Children in Need or Comic Relief where gamers donate money towards a limited time charity event. In return you could get some story DLC maybe relating to the issue at hand or something similar to what Overwatch has done with character skins by only changing the aesthetics of the game.
This isn’t the only example of video games and charity fundraising coming together. In 2015 EA teamed up with the Red Cross to provide in game items for Sim City that can be purchased to support disasters relating to the Red Cross both in game and out of game. More recently EA have received very negative press due to it’s DLC practice. Maybe DLC with a charitable incentive could redeem them?
The parallel between our fun yet seemingly trivial virtual lives and the urgent hard hitting problems we face in our real-life can be something that can provide real significant change. It makes you think if gamers are so devoted into overcoming their virtual goals then surely they’ll have the upmost determination to beat these very much real world problems. As Mercy says, “Helping those in need is its own reward”.