April 2, 2012 at 1:57 PM ET
The 402 cupcakes paid for by angry "Mass Effect 3" players as protest over the game's ending finally arrived at game maker BioWare late last week. How did they taste?
BioWare wouldn't know, because the company donated each and every one to a local youth shelter.
Chris Priestly, BioWare’s Community Coordinator, issued the following statement on their community forums:
The gesture certainly gained our attention both with its creativity and deliciousness. However, while we do appreciate that fans were creative in how they expressed their views, after a lot of discussion, we decided ultimately the reason that they were sent was not done in the context of celebrating the work or accomplishment of the Mass Effect 3 team. This is a subtle, but important aspect in determining how to pass the feedback to the team.
BioWare regularly works with many deserving charities, as such it was decided that rather than passing out the cupcakes to staff or wasting good food, to donate them on behalf of our fans to a local Edmonton youth shelter. We know that for the kids that have to use this facility, something as simple as a cupcake is a rare treat and would definitely brighten up their day. Thank you to the fine folks at the local youth shelter for accepting the donation and to the fans who donated the cupcakes.
Reaction to the act of charity among BioWare's community, primarily those who donated $1,005 dollars to raise the funds necessary to order the cupcakes in the first place, is mixed. While some applaud the move, most are not impressed.
More than a few have called it an example of "PR shenanigans" and others believe that it's just another sign of how dismissive BioWare is of its user base. The following sentiment, stated by BioWare forum member "Sp3c7eR," is typical of responses posted thus far:
ROFL, you kidding me? These cupcakes were for you guys. Way to mock the fans' creative & good natured attempt at providing feedback for YOU. You just lost a lot of respect in my eyes. You "acknowledge" the feedback you're receiving by getting rid of something meant specifically for you. That's like running off stage if you're getting stuff thrown at you. Where's your dignity? A simple thank you would've sufficed.
BioWare’s supposed mishandling of feedback is still a hot topic, many days later, though the conversation now includes a brand new sentiment -- that their charitable act is “hypocritical” given the shut down of the Child’s Play auction from the week prior.
The previous reported donation drive was shut down by Child’s Play themselves, not BioWare.
Matthew Hawkins is an NYC-based game journalist who has also written for EGM, GameSetWatch, Gamasutra, Giant Robot and numerous others. He also self-publishes his own game culture zine, is part of Attract Mode, and co-hosts The Fangamer Podcast. You can keep tabs on him via Twitter, or his personal home-base, FORT90.com.