Pink Mercy skin raises over $12M for breast cancer research
The Overwatch community can sadly be a pretty toxic place. Because of that, it’s especially great to see the community come together and participate in Blizzard's latest charity charge in the name of Breast Cancer. Lasting only two weeks, its success was remarkable, raising over $12.7 million.
The company created a unique pink skin for the strongest healer in the game – Mercy, of course – and sold it as an in-game upgrade for $15 a piece. While that may seem expensive for a cosmetic-only item, it really isn’t compared to the prices of skins in other games. The fact that the earnings will be donated to breast cancer research of course also helped justify the price.
Apparently it worked, since, in just the two weeks after the skin’s release, its sales, as well as those from associated merchandise, managed to bring in over $12.7 million. It’s wonderful to see the often-fractured Overwatch community come together for a good cause like this one. We did a little bit of maths, and after accounting for money earned through t-shirt sales (which cost $30 a pop), we came up with a rough estimate of 825.000 people buying the Pink Mercy skin. Blizzard didn't report exact numbers but did say that they sold thousands of t-shirts, allowing only for a rough estimate.
The sales are even more remarkable giving the short two-week window in which this all happened. All the earnings are going to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. To be more precise, the money will go toward "prevention strategies, improved treatments, survivorship and quality of life for breast cancer patients worldwide," said Stephanie Kauffman, Chief Strategic Alliances Officer at BCRF. If you are hoping to snag one of these skins now, sadly you are too late. The skin was available from May 8 to May 21.
Given that the usual way to get skins in-game is via loot-boxes that have to be earned or bought, it’s definitely refreshing to see an event like this do well. The $12.7M isn't even all of it – while they alone make up the biggest single corporate donation the BCRF has received in the 25 years it’s been active, 14 Overwatch Twitch streamers raised another $130.000 on top to add to the donation.
Given the unmitigated success of the Pink Mercy skin, it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see another charity-themed skin in the future. Given the wide variety of heroes and characters, there are plenty of opportunities to support plenty of charities. Winston or new hero Wrecking Ball would be perfect choices for an animal rescue charity for example, while Mei would be a good choice for environmental causes.
Whatever future events may come, for now, the huge success that was Pink Mercy is reason to celebrate – whether you bought a skin, t-shirt, both or neither – this is a huge win not only for breast cancer research but also for the Overwatch community. If nothing else, this event has proven that the community isn’t as toxic as it may seem.