How Mass Effect 3 Protesters Raised $80K for Charity

It’s not unfair to say a large number of the players of Mass Effect 3 aren’t happy with BioWare’s trilogy-capping RPG — and they’ve taken their grievances to the Internet.

Many are so frustrated with the ending of the game that they’ve organized what seems to be an unprecedented protest in the video game community. Letter-writing campaigns, petitions, forum posts, Photoshopped images, Twitter conversations, and even on-site organized protests are reportedly being used in hopes of convincing BioWare that the ending of Mass Effect 3 as delivered isn’t up to the standard of quality fans of the series, which has spanned five years, expected.

Easily the most remarkable protest to come out of the fan reaction – some would say movement – isn’t a protest at all, however. It’s a charity fundraiser created by passionate players from BioWare’s own Social Network forums. And already, it has already raised $80,000 for the charity Child’s Play.

“Bascially, we wanted to show that we were sincere, and passionate about the game, without just doing another online poll,” said BSN forum user Robb, 34, a computer programmer from Highlands Ranch, Colo., and one of the early supporters of the fundraiser. Robb asked that Game Front refrain from publishing his full name.

Child’s Play is a charity that uses video games and other media and items to “improve the lives of children in our network of hospital facilities worldwide,” said Jamie Dillion, the charity’s project manager. Child’s Play works with some 80 hospitals, providing what it calls “play therapy” resources – including games, movies and books.

Community at Work

Robb said that the fundraiser was an idea suggested by another poster on the BSN as a means of combatting the negative portrayal of players petitioning for BioWare to change the endings of Mass Effect 3; the idea was to take the organized energy of the fan base and put it into something positive.

At the time, already there had been huge fan outcry over the endings, as well as a wave of backlash – some civil, some not so civil – from both fans against BioWare, and the gaming press against those fans. A Facebook page and Twitter account were set up under the banner “Retake Mass Effect,” urging fans to organize to “Demand a better ending to Mass Effect 3.” That page has since garnered more than 51,000 Facebook “likes” as of this writing and has pushed into multiple additional languages. It has been a central hub of organizing protests such as letter-writing campaigns and petition drives.

Since Robb created the ChipIn page on March 12, the fundraiser has garnered $80,000 in donations (and still growing as of this writing). He said the original cap was $1,000. Child’s Play endorses using ChipIn, which allows anyone to create a fundraiser that sends money directly to the charity; it isn’t taking sides in the Mass Effect 3 controversy, though, and Dillion said she wasn’t aware of the Retake fundraiser when contacted by Game Front. Child’s Play isn’t affiliated in any way with the fundraiser other than through the use of ChipIn.

But while the fundraiser was originally born of a desire to create positive attention for the Mass Effect 3 ending movement, several of its early supporters have said that the overwhelming success of the fundraiser has turned the attention to doing as much good as possible with the energy the controversy has created.

“Once we got about 50 people and $1000, word spread like wild fire,” said Cameron Fullerton, 25, a psychology student in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Fullerton was the first to voice the idea of giving to a charity, and has since become something of a cheerleader among the larger Retake charity drive community. “We are also hoping of course that even if Bioware doesn’t change the endings, they might be motivated to match our donations. And, we are hoping by the end of the month to hit $100,000.”

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13 Comments on How Mass Effect 3 Protesters Raised $80K for Charity

Docmeff

On March 22, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Leave it up to clods like Colin Moriarty and Gamespot’s dopes to claim that giving to charity was a BAD thing. They are holding their own line because they got called out on their bogus game reviews and need to keep their cedibility as an objective game publication. IGN/Gamespot, etc do not appear to be completely objective in my opinion. I may be wrong…

ThePrion

On March 22, 2012 at 12:14 pm

I’m mostly surprised by the gaming press manifestation on this matter. I used to often follow GameInformer articles, but yesterday they posted a feature that got me done with them. Of course some people are going to be completely satisfied with the ending, but mock the other fans like they are just being whiners for wanting a coherent closure it’s the worst reaction possible to all of this. I’m glad GameFront it’s being reasonable as possible and being capable of fully understanding the fans.
For those who haven’t seen it yet:
http://www.gameinformer.com/b/features/archive/2012/03/21/hey-bioware-while-you-39-re-at-it.aspx

Jim P

On March 22, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Not sure if my last comment took or not, so I apologize if this is a double-post. Anyway, another great article that shows the generosity of a fanbase that is accused of being, “entitled.” I agree with Docmeff too, that an interesting aspect to this story is how so many in the mainstream are quick to mischaracterize and discredit the fans in this controversy. I think it’s fair to ask whether or not IGN, Gamestop and others are just covering their tracks after failing to include any real analaysis of the controversial ending to ME3 in their reviews of the game.

Conn Cooney

On March 22, 2012 at 12:38 pm

The charity was organised to show that us fans were to be taken seriously. It has worked to some degree but this whole situation has left deep divides between the gaming community. Reviewers are being questioned on their moral integrity, Developers are trying to defend their “artwork” which is understandable. But the whole notion of mass effect was to make it your own story. So how can they not understand that their version of the ending was simply not good enough for the 5 year emotional journey of money and time by legions of dedicated fans. We only want an ending that makes sense and wraps things up. We only do it because we care!

Tali (@Locolobo_2)

On March 22, 2012 at 1:37 pm

@Conn ey
YEAH! Seriously, if we didn’t care so much about the series, why would we be “wasting our time” with this? I’m at least not doing it necessarily for my benefit.. I want the ENTIRE Mass Effect franchise (not just most of it minus the ending) to go down in history as one of the greatest sci-fi epics ever created.. It’d be like this generation’s Star Wars.
But seriously, those people who think this charity is a bad thing, and think we’re only doing it for our benefit.. C’mon, really? haha And even if some are doing it for their own benefit, the kids are still the ones really benefiting from it the most. Despite those who want to chip away at strongly bonded line, we will continue to hold the line as before.

Sharkey

On March 22, 2012 at 6:03 pm

Hey Phil, thanks for the great article! I just want to give you a heads up that the Charity is being capped off at $80,000 as Child’s Play was apparently receiving hate mail and was being inaccurately portrayed by media sources as supporting the group. Check out the first post in this thread for more details: http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/355/index/9845819/1

Midarc

On March 22, 2012 at 9:25 pm

It’s a damned shame that some folk are so vehemently against Retake that they’d direct hatemail towards a charity dedicated to helping children in an effort to oppose them.

squidbot

On March 22, 2012 at 9:28 pm

It makes me SICK that people sent HATE MAIL to a charity because they disagreed with a community of people who were making huge donations to that charity. What kind of inhuman monsters are those people? They should be ashamed of themselves!

Nulltron

On March 23, 2012 at 12:42 am

Great idea. The money should be given to the charity only on the condition that it is not used to pay for anything from Bioware. After all what would be the point?

Anyway, it is already damn brilliantly clear that whatever Bioware does with ME is definitely going to stink to Reaper high heaven already. I’ll be reading about it. (ONLY reading about it).

We are getting the entertainment promised after all. Touché.

Lil

On March 23, 2012 at 2:03 am

So, which parts of the gamer press pressured the charity into asking the movement to wrap up their donation drive? Who was sending a charity hatemail because they didn’t like what some ME3 fans are choosing to do with their money? Anyone? No? No-0one willing to admit it was them??

Tom

On March 23, 2012 at 9:46 am

Thanks IGN, for cheating Child’s Play out of another 19 days of donations. If I were a “journalist” at IGN, I don’t think I could look at myself in the mirror after this. I hope they’re proud of themselves.

Josh

On March 23, 2012 at 12:19 pm

I find it interesting that the announcement by Penny Arcade (founders of Child’s Play) had an ad for TOR in front of the announcement to stop their partnership with Retake ME

Ymarsakar

On March 26, 2012 at 12:52 am

http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/childs-play-charity-ended-due-to-penny-arcades-internal-politics/

I think people may be interested in hearing some unmentioned details concerning how the charity was ended. And perhaps any other organization backing ME3′s ending change will improve their PR management if they know these issues ahead of time.

Don’t look any further than Penny Arcade’s own beliefs and interests for why they shut down the charity chip in from ME3 retake. Some people made charities just for their own business’ PR status. Whether Child’s Play was originally designed to give better PR to gamers and make them look less violent or not is really immaterial. ME3 Retake was perhaps edging too close to “taking over” a charity Penny Arcade saw as their own personal fiefdom and asset. That is it. EA, Bioware, none of those things need to enter the picture.