Profits from sales of Minecraft and Minecraft Dungeons on digital stores today will be donated to several racial justice causes, in celebration of Juneteenth. The annual event on June 19th marks the day in 1865 that a Union army general formally announced to Texas that all Texan slaves were now free, and has grown to be celebrated countrywide. Mojang have also switched one of the groups they're donating to, from the initially-announced Black Lives Matter Foundation to the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation. That's... a whole story in itself, an expensive case of mistaken identity.
"We stand in unwavering support of the Black community, denouncing the racism, oppression, and suffering endured by so many for too long," Mojang said in their announcement. "As a team, we've been listening, learning, and considering how we can contribute to the powerful movements pushing for equality and justice in the US and around the world – because Black lives matter."
So, Mojang's profits from digital sales of Minecraft, Minecraft Dungeons, and Minecraft Marketplace content from 8am today (midnight Pacific) to 7:59am tomorrow (11:50pm Pacific) will be donated to the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, Equal Justice Initiative, and The NAACP Legal Defense And Education Fund. They note that some stores, like Amazon, are waiving their royalty fees so more will come to Mojang to get donated. Basically, you get a game in return for a donation (minus a cut from some stores, which isn't great).
Minecraft is available on PC, mobile, so many consoles, and more, costing £18-£25 on PC depending on which edition you get. Dungeons is on PC and consoles too for £17. Our Minecraft Dungeons review called the action-RPG spin-off "really fun" so maybe worth a look.
Mojang's initial announcement on June 5th said one of the groups they'd donate to was the Black Lives Matter Foundation. This charity with one single paid employee has been in the news recently after numerous companies mistook them for a far larger organisation, the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation. A BuzzFeed report explained the mix-up, and some of how it came about.
Companies including Apple, Google, and Microsoft (and their employees) raised $4 million (£3.2) for the Black Lives Matter Foundation before the mix-up was discovered. Donation platform GoFundMe also froze $350,000 (£280k) that had been headed to the BLM Foundation. Evidently Mojang had made the same mistake.
Black Lives Matter has no single official organisation because that's not how the movement works, but the Global Network Foundation do seem more the sort of organisation that companies would intend to donate to. The BLM Global Network Foundation have just launched a $12m fund for organisations fighting institutional racism, and are campaigning to defund the police. The BLM Foundation haven't done much of note, told BuzzFeed that "our whole thing is having unity with the police department", and offered ideas including "have a cup with a cop" events where residents chat with police officers over coffee and donuts.
Celebrated on June 19th, Juneteenth marks the day in 1865 when, after the end of the American Civil War, a Union army general announced in Texas that slaves were free. That was over two years after Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. While slavery did continue for few months in parts of the US after June 19th, Juneteenth is broadly seen as celebrating the end of slavery.
Disclosure: RPS news gremlin Nat Clayton once worked on Minecraft content packs.