Update 03/29/2022: The amount raised now exceeds $100 million (opens in new tab). Original story follows:
Epic Games and Microsoft have, through Fortnite in-game purchases, raised over $70 million to be donated towards humanitarian relief in the ongoing Russo-Ukraine war. And it's still got a week to go.
Epic has pledged that, from March 20 until April 3, all proceeds from real-money purchases in Fortnite (opens in new tab) would be donated to four humanitarian organisations currently operating in Ukraine: Direct Relief, UNICEF, the UN World Food Programme and the UN Refugee Agency. The company says "more organizations will be added to this list in the coming weeks." Xbox agreed to partner-up with Epic on this, and has committed its net proceeds from Fortnite during this period.
In a blog post (opens in new tab) Epic clarified it would not wait for transactions to be fully processed, but instead is committing to distributing any funds raised "within days."
Together we’ve now raised $70 million USD in humanitarian relief funds for Ukraine. Congratulations and thanks everyone + @xbox for joining this effort! pic.twitter.com/C09uffbjPFMarch 25, 2022
Putting this sum in context is difficult but, if you look at the list of foreign aid being given to Ukraine over this period (opens in new tab), the amount that Fortnite is contributing is more than some small countries. In terms of other companies, this looks like the single biggest contribution made by far (Meta Platforms ie Facebook donated $15 million; Amazon $10 million; Samsung around $6 million), although of course not all donations can or have been quantified financially—SpaceX's involvement in offering its Starlink system, for example.
The Fortnite pledge runs for another seven days, and you wouldn't bet against it breaking the $100 million mark—in fact it may already have done, because the $70 million figure is now a couple of days old. Fortnite already seems to be the single largest corporate donor to the Russo-Ukraine conflict and, by the end of the pledge period, the amount will be even higher.
Epic and Microsoft deserve all the credit going for this, particularly as the former chose to launch the donation drive at the same time as Chapter 3 Season 2 was released on March 20: exactly the time when players will be buying their battle passes and fancy new skins. Epic will continue to donate proceeds to Ukraine until the drive ends on April 3.