NC-based Epic Games promises ‘Fortnite’ product for Ukraine

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Cary-based Epic Games has seen its valuation skyrocket since the release of the “Fortnite” video game.

Courtesy of Epic Games

For two weeks, all net proceeds from the hugely popular online video game “Fortnite” will go to humanitarian aid for those affected by war in Ukraine, publisher Epic Games has said.

The announcement was made on Sunday as Ukraine continues to battle against invading Russian forces. Hundreds of Ukrainian men, women and children have been killed in Russian shelling, while millions have taken refuge underground or fled the country, according to the Associated Press.

Funds committed by Cary-based Epic Games will go to the United Nations Children’s Fund, Direct Relief, the United Nations World Food Program and the United Nations Refugee Agency – humanitarian groups that work in the country to provide emergency aid.

Epic Games said on its website that the funds will help groups provide health support, food and clean water, essential supplies, legal aid and shelter.

The company added that it would provide support to other groups in the coming weeks.

Xbox will join the effort, committing its net proceeds from Fortnite over the same period, according to Epic Games.

The support period will run from March 20 to April 3, and Epic Games said the company will provide funds as transactions are reported, rather than waiting for them to be processed.

Although Fortnite is free to download and play, players can purchase cosmetic items to customize their in-game appearance and weapons.

All Fortnite purchases made with real money will count towards the effort, including in-game virtual currency V-Bucks purchases, Gifted Battle Passes, Fortnite Crew Memberships, and Cosmetic Packs.

In-game cosmetics and V-Bucks in-store purchases will also be included, provided they are redeemed in-game during the two-week window, Epic Games said.

The online video game has millions of daily players and grossed around $1.8 billion in 2019, The News & Observer previously reported.

Last year, Epic Games reached a valuation of $29 billion. The Cary-based company employs hundreds of people in the Triangle.

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Julian Shen-Berro covers breaking news and public safety for The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun.

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