'Fortnite' videogame maker raises $144m for Ukraine

Gaming companies are raising funds for humanitarian aid to invaded country

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Videogame maker Epic Games said on Monday that $144 million made from its popular Fortnite battle game will go to help the people of war-ravaged Ukraine.

Epic committed the Fortnite proceeds from the past two weeks to humanitarian efforts in Ukraine and said that the Xbox gaming unit of Microsoft is doing the same.

"Really incredible to see how the gaming community can have impact beyond the playing of games," Xbox head Phil Spencer said on Twitter, in response to Epic's announcement.

Battle royale game Fortnite has more than 350 million players worldwide, and released a new season late in March.

The game is free to download and play, but the company makes money from options such as digital costumes for characters, dance moves for avatars and tournaments.

Mr Spencer thanked Epic for organising the fundraising effort.

The money raised is being sent to aid groups including Unicef, the UN Refugee Agency and the World Food Programme, Epic said.

The WFP has reached a million people in Ukraine with food and money assistance, the organisation tweeted on Monday.

Thousands of people have been killed and more than 4.2 million Ukrainian refugees have fled the country since the Russian invasion on February 24, the UN says.

Videogame makers and companies in other markets have raised money to help humanitarian efforts in Eastern Europe.

League of Legends maker Riot Games announced recently that it had raised $5.4m for the cause.

Updated: April 04, 2022, 9:17 PM