In 2009, a multiplayer PC game known as League of Legends took the gaming world by storm. Simple in theory, the game focused on “summoners” who could conjure up champions. By utilizing these champions’ skills, players could coordinate teams and play against one another in a capture-the-flag scenario. While there are other objectives, most players preferred the competitive teamwork in this model.
Since its release, the game has steadily risen in popularity. In 2016, the development company, Riot, estimated that there were over 100 million active players every month.
The game’s influence doesn’t end at those who actually play the game. Many people prefer to watch the game being played, rather than play it themselves. In fact, some of the most popular streamers on Twitch are popular because they play League of Legends. The popularity of League of Legends, or LoL, has led to the creation of clothing, toys, and other forms of merchandise. Music and books have also been created to tie into the experience, increasing player immersion.
Until just recently, the game ran entirely off microtransactions that encouraged players to purchase upgrades for their champions. However, a new form of payment is being introduced: blood.
For players living in the Netherlands, they can choose to donate blood to the blood bank Sanquin in exchange for a player skin. The skin, which is an additional outfit for your player, is called “Blood Moon Thresh.” This prize can go for quite a bit of in-game currency, making it a fitting prize for your life-force.
Riot Games partners with blood bank to promote donation in the Netherlandshttps://t.co/lRazsWn53H League of Legends players who donate blood through Sanquin will receive an in-game skin pic.twitter.com/cjVnEkgJe5
— GamesIndustry (@GIBiz) August 23, 2018
As reported by PC Gamer, the campaign, called MyFirstBlood, is named after the term “first blood,” a phrase meant to mean the time blood is drawn during a match. In order to win this skin, the player has to be first time donor, and they have to give their blood to a participating blood bank.
Sanquin is doing this to help raise awareness about the need for blood donations. They are experiencing a decline in regular donations, which can become dangerous for those who need blood transfusions.
According to the LOL eSports website, Riot wants to help them get the donations they need.
“Donating blood in real life is crucial for those in need, which is why we’ve partnered with Sanquin. The organisation is responsible for the blood supply in the Netherlands and is on a mission to combat the concerning decrease in blood donor numbers.”
Riot has teamed up with other organizations in the past, including the Red Cross, and their partnership with Sanquin is another helpful — albeit weird — attempt to do good. Who says video games can’t make the world a better place?