EVE Online is a pretty unique game. It and its unified, always-on player base manage to do things in their gameworld that few MMOs, nay, few games barely conceive. It's intimidating as all hell, but damn if it isn't fascinating. Just like their latest way of helping Japan out in the wake of the massive earthquake.
Rather than asking their players to donate boring-ol' money through external sources, developer CCP Games has found a way to take advantage of EVE's fully-fledged in-game economy, by accepting donations of PLEX, the real-world value of which is converted into cash and donated to the Red Cross.
"What's PLEX", you ask? Standing for "Pilot License EXtension" it's basically an in-game item that can be redeemed for game time. The fun part about PLEX is that it can be bought with ISK, EVE's in-game currency. Thus, players that earn a lot of ISK through their in-game businesses and activities can effectively pay for their subscriptions by playing the game itself.
Which basically means that pilots making mad bank in virtual space can use said bank to help people in the real world. It's gamification at its best. According to CCP's plan, players will donate bought PLEX to a special account, the real-world value of which then donated by CCP to the Red Cross. CCP will also voluntarily absorb VAT taxes on the PLEX.
So, EVE players, if you have some ISK to spare, check out this page to get more details on the process.
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