It's not often that a charity will turn down donations but that's exactly what Child's Play did recently when it told Atlantica Online operator NDoors Interactive that it wasn't interested in taking its money.
It happens from time to time: As a result of one impropriety or another, charities are occasionally forced to decline donations from certain individuals or organizations. Sometimes it's simply a matter of optics, such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation's rejection of a $5000 donation from the Skidmore College Photography Club because the money came from sales of a calendar it felt was "racy or sexually offensive." An MMOG developer making a donation to the game-centric Child's Play, on the other hand, seems like a natural fit.
But these things aren't always as simple as they appear. An initiative by Atlantica Online studio NDoors Interactive to contribute to Child's Play fell apart in the wake of player complaints, which led the charity to withdraw from the effort. NDoors had put together a "box" containing "some of the rarest items" in the game for the holidays, which it offered for 3999 Gcoins ($40). In the spirit of the holidays, the company also decided to pass along five percent of the sales of the box to Child's Play.
The problem? Five percent is apparently too low in the minds of some gamers, who sent unspecified complaints to the charity that eventually led it to pull out of the program altogether. NDoors Interactive, as you might imagine, isn't too happy about how things have worked out.
"We are saddened to inform you that due to some negative player complaints, Child's Play has regrettably asked to be withdrawn from our efforts to raise money for their cause. We were informed that Child's Play received negative emails from Atlantica Online players around the nature of the donation and the box, causing them to request removal from our fundraising efforts," the company said in a statement.
"It is incredibly unfortunate that we are unable to give the donation amount that you, our players, raised to this charity due to the negativity of certain players around the nature of the donation and an optional, opt-in purchase," it continued. "While we recognize that not all of our players were negative towards the donation and/or box, it is regrettable that the actions of a few have prevented our players, as a whole, from donating to this cause (we say 'as a whole' because our players can still donate directly, and we encourage you to do so)."
As requested, NDoors has removed all "descriptions, logos and links" related to Child's Play and is now in the process of looking for another charity to support. It's a sad outcome for all involved; some of the complainers may see this as some kind of principled victory but when the ultimate result is simply that a worthwhile charity loses out on support, I have a hard time seeing it as a win for anyone.