In brief: EVE Online's community is vast, globe-spanning, and pretty hardcore about their favorite game. However, in 2020, their passion has been turned toward considerably more productive goals. In partnership with scientists from McGill University, over 171,000 EVE players have contributed to Covid-19 research.

If you're wondering how playing a game could possibly have any discernible impact on the fight against Covid-19, let us elaborate. By completing special in-game tasks and minigames, players can categorize cells and help researchers better understand the virus and how it attacks the human immune system.

You don't need any specialized knowledge or a scientific background; the in-game tutorial explains everything you need to know. Contributing to the effort does lead to various in-game rewards, as well as a higher "Project Discovery" ranking.

So far, the 171,000 gamers mentioned before have completed more than 47 million tasks, equating to about 36 years of categorizing cells. Those are some astounding results, and it goes to show that gamers are willing to band together for the common good when given the opportunity to do so.

According to the BBC, which first reported on this news, many players were happy to participate because the minigames gave them a way to better understand scientific research without needing any specialized knowledge.

Furthermore, they were able to help out from the comfort of their own home, so any difficulties that volunteering in-person may have caused did not factor in here.

For our part, we're happy to see the gaming community contribute to such an important cause, and we're even more pleased that those contributions have proven useful. For more information on Project Discovery (created by EVE's developers, CCP Games), including participation details, check out the official page here.