At the Austin Game Developer Conference on September 6th, Sony Online Entertainment will present Michael Willard, executive director of Austin Habitat for Humanity (AHFH) with a donation in an undisclosed amount during SOE's AGDC industry reception.
Previously, Sony Online Entertainment's Austin, TX studio had teamed up with AHFH, contributing financially and through volunteer efforts to help people in the Austin community find homes, promoting affordable housing in a joint effort.
The effort focused on SOE's Star Wars Galaxies
MMO, and a surplus of abandoned player-created houses "condemned" and slated for demolition by swooping TIE fighters. When the SWG
community was given the chance to join in this "urban renewal," earning redeemable reward points, for the number of buildings they destroyed, Austin VP of development John Blakely was surprised by the response.
"Oddly enough, it was very well received; some players that hadn't been in the game for months came back to reclaim their property, re-activate their accounts and start playing the game again," he said.
Next, SOE offered to match the number of houses demolished with a donation to Austin Habitat for Humanity. "Using the money we raised blowing-up virtual houses and buildings to help build real homes was a no-brainer for us," said Blakely. "Austin Habitat for Humanity has done incredible work in the community, helping people find good homes, and our whole studio wanted to contribute to their efforts."
"Teaming up with Sony Online Entertainment is a wonderful opportunity for Austin Habitat and the families we serve. The creativity and diligence that these professionals exhibit in their work are traits which translate well to our efforts to eradicate poverty housing in our community," said Willard. "Austin needs creative solutions in our quest to create more affordable housing and diligent leadership in as we work toward those goals."