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Untitled Goose Game studio to donate 1% of income, forever. Others should follow.

Untitled Goose Game

The titular mascot of Untitled Goose Game may be a menace, but the people behind it are committing to help right history’s wrongs.

House House, the Melbourne-based developer that created Untitled Goose Game, will donate at least 1% of its earnings to indigenous people in perpetuity, the company said on Friday. In its announcement, the studio acknowledged Australia’s fraught history since the British declared sovereignty in the 18th century, and detailed its desire to take a more active role in addressing its continuing issues.

“Our videogames are made on stolen Wurundjeri land,” House House tweeted. “We at House House will be paying at least 1% of our income to Indigenous groups, in perpetuity, as part of the Pay the Rent movement.”

Our videogames are made on stolen Wurundjeri land. We at House House will be paying at least 1% of our income to Indigenous groups, in perpetuity, as part of the Pay the Rent movement. We'd encourage others to do the same:

— House House (@house_house_) January 29, 2020

The account included a link to the Pay The Rent, an initiative that asks people to pay 1% of their income to Aboriginal people as they “live, work, and play on Aboriginal land.” For its part, House House will giving the Wurundjeri Tribe Council, Warriors of Aboriginal Resistance, and activist group Seed Mob.

The announcement coincided with Australia Day, a holiday where the country commemorates the arrival of the First Fleet of British people. While the day is a cause for celebration for some, it also marks the beginning of Britain’s rule and the ensuing inhumanity toward the Aboriginal people. It’s also referred to as Invasion Day and Survival Day.

House House’s long-term efforts set an example for the kind of philanthropic work that other gaming companies should follow.

This isn’t the first time a gaming studio or other enterprise started a charity initiative. Yet many, like the support shown for the Australian bushfires, are one-offs. Responding to news and finding ways to help as needed is beneficial, but establishing lasting support for broader ambitions can increase impact and makes it clear the donation isn’t merely designed to generate positive headlines while an event is in the news.

House House is a small studio. It released its first indie game, Push Me Pull You, in 2016. If a studio this new can make an ongoing commitment, so too can AAA studios.

Humble Bundle has long let players donate part of their purchase to a charity (or charities) of their choice, while also offering specific fundraising efforts for issues that arise. Yet it remains one of the few to share the approach of House House. Much larger companies, like Epic and Valve, don’t.

The gaming industry has ballooned into the largest entertainment industry in the world. There’s plenty of money to go around, and plenty of power to make change and direct attention to notable causes. House House has created a template that other companies should follow.

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