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?

14 Comments

  1. Shardz says:

    Next on the horizon; a fundraising drive to get rid of Bobby Kotick. I’d buy that for a dollar!

  2. Zallgrin says:

    Did most people buy it for the cutesy goat? Probably.

    Did they also buy it to help fight against Ebola while also getting a cute goat? Most likely.

    It’s not the first charity pet that Blizzard has done, it’s kinda a semi-regular feature of theirs. I’m not very interested in gauging motivations as long as it keeps doing good.

  3. Moraven says:

    Past charity pets (pet store launched in Winter 2009):

    Pandaren Monk, Winter 2009 – Make-A-Wish – N/A
    Moonkin Hatchling, Winter 2010 – Make-A-Wish – $800k
    Cenarion Hatchling, Summer 2011 – Red Cross’s Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami relief – $1.9m
    Cinder Kitten, Winter 2012 – Red Cross’s Superstorm Sandy Response – $2.3m
    Alterac Brew Pup, Winter 2013 – Make-A-Wish N/A

    Make-A-Wish pets were 50% of sales went to Make-A-Wish. Diaster relief donations were from 100% of pet sales.

  4. Tei says:

    This is why I don’t play PC games:
    link to modernfarmer.com

  5. DoktorV says:

    As good as their intentions were, unfortunately they choose very poorly by sending the money to the Red Cross. There is abundant evidence that the Red Cross mismanaged the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in the US to a staggering degree, and that at least some senior members of the Red Cross misappropriated donation funds.
    link to propublica.org

    • AngoraFish says:

      It’s very hard indeed to find any organised charity with more than 2-3 employees that isn’t ultimately a well-oiled vehicle for paying generous salaries and benefits to rent-seeking employees and directors.

      The term “non-profit” doesn’t actually mean what most people assume it means. All that non-profit means is that the organisation can’t pay dividends to shareholders.

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        Harlander says:

        OK, but how easy is it to find a charity which uses the increased potency afforded by large size to do sufficient good that it outweighs the employees and directors diverting cash to their salaries?

      • Tei says:

        Perhaps some people use that as rationalizations to not donate. I think thats wrong, you still have to donate, even if only 1/4 of the money you give will help people.

  6. Mr Coot says:

    I did buy an Argi as I am an inveterate pet owner like Ms Warr. Argi is most delightfully animated. I bought it at full price during the period because I knew the full amount would be going to a good cause. Generally tho’, I wait til Blizz puts the pets out at half price before I buy any I’m missing.

    • Moraven says:

      Usually how I buy pets if I want any.

      My wife on the other hand wants every pet and mount…
      676 unique pets (out of 694). 664 at level 25
      266 mounts collected

  7. It's not me it's you says:

    Me and the missus both bought one the day it came out. The ebola relief effort definitely was the thing that made us buy then and there. We both love pets and mounts but generally don’t buy them from the store.

    (we did splurge on a few more when they were all 50 to 75% off for a day or so. That was a good day for digital critters)

  8. Jigoku says:

    At first I couldn’t give less of a crap to the blue draenish goat, but giving against ebola via a videogame company?
    That was clearly a no-brainer for me. Any pet or mount would have sealed the deal I guess.

    Although I’ll admit that I found Argi to be a cute pet to grind with (but seriously, I don’t really like pets in wow, and I’m mostly a Horde player).
    By the way, the Draenei goat was not that bad of a choice, PR-wise.
    Any Draenei can use light of the N’aaru to heal themselves and the others, and this goat makes no exception, so I guess it fits.