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Blizzard's Digital Space Goat Raises $1.9m For Ebola Relief

Sometimes I wonder whether my Mastermind specialist subject would no longer involve questions on “Picasso’s relationship with the Communist Party” and would, instead, be “Pets it is possible to own in videogames”. Perhaps I’d go with one for the main series and save the other for if I got into the finals.

Today’s pet is World of Warcraft‘s Argi who is a blue goat-looking creature. She’s actually been trotting about in Azeroth for a while now but the reason she popped back onto my radar is that for a limited period Blizzard were selling her in order to raise money for the American Red Cross as a way of assisting in the Ebola relief efforts in Africa. Today they announced that sales of the pet had raised $1.9 million.

Games do charity collaborations and fundraising drives from time to time so this isn’t new but the amount of money Blizzard say they raised by selling a digital space goat did catch my eye. A quick spot of currency conversion and division (dollars to euros then dividing by ten which was the proceeds from sales which went to the Red Cross) puts sales of Argi or Argi bundles at about 167,000.

I did wonder about any link between the space goat and the cause because sometimes these charitable acts have a more obvious link between what’s on offer and the cause being benefited. But then perhaps it’s better to leave that for a different type of game and cause – after all Ebola is horrific and not really the sort of thing which lends itself to a gambolling cute mascot. Certainly all of my concepts have been PR disasters waiting to happen.

I’d also be interested to hear if any of you bought an Argi during that period and whether the idea of contributing to a charitable cause was a part of that of if you just happened to fancy a space goat companion at that point in time. Basically, does the money get raised more as a byproduct of what you’d purchase anyway or is the attraction of doing good part of your decision to get the pet?

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Philippa Warr

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