[Update: Child's Play organizer explains that EA was not permitted to use the charity to promote their Battlefield DLC]
Most people by now may have heard about the Retake Mass Effect 3 Charity and how it was shutdown. The group itself came together and decided to get their voices heard by donating to charity. The idea was to donate enough money to the organization of their choosing in order to raise the awareness to BioWare and EA. Well, it worked...sort of.
The Child's Play charity, owned by the same group who runs Penny Arcade, reported that gamers weren't properly informed about the Retake Mass Effect cause and wanted refunds hence why they had the charity drive to Child's Play shutdown at the end of March, with Penny Arcade's Jerry Holkins' saying...
"We were dealing with a lot of very confused people, more every day, and that told us we had a problem,"..."Apparently some of the people giving to the cause seemed to think that they were paying for a new ending to Mass Effect."
Turns out, that wasn't true. Child's Play organizer Jamie Dillion later clarified in a response to Forbes that the company was on a very "slippery slope" where people were donating not just to donate but to support a third-party cause, and they felt that this should go against company policy, hence, they later made it company policy that the charity can no longer be used to support a separate cause outside of Child's Play itself, saying...
"The real concern on our end was the slippery slope that attaching causes to fundraising for Child’s Play can create. While RME had the best of intentions and was overwhelmingly generous, it shed light on an issue that we needed to address. It pointed out a dangerous precedent for others to use the charity for agendas we clearly do not support.
This leads me to the real apple pie on the counter: EA had previously used Child's Play as part of a charity drive with the DLC campaign for Battlefield Heroes, but no one said nary a thing about it. Yet gamers use the charity to bring awareness to BioWare/EA and it gets shutdown for that very reason. A little hypocritical, no?
Many within the industry have badgered the Retake Mass Effect 3 group for using the Child's Play organization for selfish means but I tend to find it a little less selfish than profiting from DLC.
More clearly, the EA charity drive in question started back in the beginning of December. Essentially they paired up with Child's Play where the company would donate $1 for very Santa or Nikolaus outfit sold, as reported by Eurogamer. The interesting thing about it is that the charity drive was essentially used to peddle DLC for a free-to-play shooter, Battlefield Heroes, and it managed to rack up $4594 worth of charity money that EA matched, donating a total of $9188 to the Child's Play charity.
As recounted in the Retake Mass Effect campaign link at the top of the article, the charity drive managed a whopping $80,000 from eager fans and gamers willing to raise awareness to BioWare, doing so in under a week.
The real question here is: why was it okay for EA to use Child's Play to promote DLC in Battlefield Heroes but it wasn't okay for gamers to use a gaming-based charity to bring awareness to a situation within the gaming industry? In one case there were profits to be made by a corporation, in the other case it was just gamers trying to get their voices heard.
As previously reported, Child's Play company policy has been updated where they can no longer be associated with such third-party causes. You can only donate because you want to.
However, it does beg the question why EA was allowed to use the charity to promote DLC in the first place but a community driven group was not allowed to use the charity as a means of protest?
Regardless, the group feels they accomplished something positive as noted on their Facebook Page and EA and BioWare are currently hard at work bringing back in voice actors and staff to work on the new ending DLC for Mass Effect 3, as reported by the Examiner, so the effort certainly wasn't in vain and that's also $80,000 in the hands of children who deserve it. Oh yeah, and here's the trailer promoting the DLC and the Child's Play campaign for Battlefield Heroes.