Gamers have purchased more than $1.5 million in special virtual goods through Zynga's social games like FarmVille
and Mafia Wars
to support relief efforts in Haiti following the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that devastated the country last week.
Zynga launched the virtual goods promotion to encourage the 230+ million monthly active users playing its games to donate to Haiti aid. The San Francisco-based company will send 100 percent of the proceeds from its virtual goods sales to the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP), which has an emergency response team distributing food and other relief to Haitians affected by the earthquake.
The special virtual items in Zynga's games include white corn in FarmVille, a Haitian drum in Mafia Wars
, a Haiti fish in FishVille
, and a chip package in Zynga Poker
. The developer's other titles -- Cafe World, PetVille
, and YoVille
-- as well as its official site also advertised links for visitors to donate. The games appear on various social networks like Facebook, MySpace, and Bebo.
More than 300,000 Zynga games players pitched in to raise the $1.5 million amount in just five days. Combined with another promotion the social games developer ran last month to raise money through virtual goods sales for Haitian charities helping local children and women, Zynga and its users have donated a total of $2.7 million to Haiti
"We are extremely grateful to Zynga for this contribution," said Nancy Roman, WFP’s director of communications. "Through their donations, Zynga players are helping us to bring urgently needed food assistance to people who have been plunged into hunger by this devastating earthquake. We started distributing food within 24 hours of the earthquake, and in the coming weeks, we aim to deliver weekly rations to 2 million people."