Joining many other companies that have stepped up to help with the global medical crisis, Rockstar Games has pledged to support the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The disease has affected almost every industry to such a degree that not speaking about it is no longer an option.
Rockstar Games had previously released a statement that they would increase the frequency and content of weekly bonuses in Grand Theft Auto Online to help fans cope with being cooped up due to social distancing. Now they're taking more direct action to help combat the crisis - by reaching into their pockets.
GTA Online continues to enjoy a massive player base and what financial data is readily available clearly indicates that in-game purchases - in this case Shark Cards - amount to a huge amount of revenue. Now, Rockstar is pledging to donate 5% of all in-game purchase revenue to COVID-19 relief efforts.
5% might seem small at first glance, but when Shark Cards and other microtransactions from other titles bring in millions every month, suddenly that 5% amounts to a lot more. Considering significantly more players are stuck at home and are likely to be playing longer, it's almost certain that in-game purchases will also spike during this period, further increasing that number.
These donations will begin today, on the 1st of April - odd timing for the announcement, but it definitely isn't a joke - and will continue through the end of May. If the state of emergency drags on, it is possible Rockstar will extend their donations as well.
COVID-19 hit the gaming industry hard, with several events cancelled and releases delayed. The impact has even pushed back the impending release of the next generation consoles, the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5.
We hope everyone is weathering the current situation as well as is possible, huddled at home in safety with a few good games and books to keep them company.