The weirdness continues for that strange Mass Effect 3 in-space promotion. As we learned last week, the packages launched by balloon in San Francisco landed in a tree and on a cliff, and so were utterly inaccessible. The packages launched from Las Vegas though, were actually recovered by gamers... and that's where things got strange.
Entrepreneurial video game fans Michael Davis and Miguel Droz uncovered a copy of the game in the Arizona desert. Rather than going home and playing it, though, the pair decided to raffle it off. They offered gamers the opportunity to pay $5 a chance to win the game. The original plan was to give 30 percent of the proceeds to the Child's Play charity. The problem: This sounds an awful lot like gambling, and you can't just set up a gambling operation, even in Nevada. You can, apparently, auction things off if all of the proceeds go to charity, but that wasn't Davis and Droz's idea. They wanted to use 70 percent of the money to start a game company.
Game blog Kotaku spoke to lawyer Mark Methenitis, who said: "They're running an illegal lottery which subjects them to potential criminal penalties... I would imagine that Child's Play, if they knew what was going on, would not want to be involved. I won't even get into the issues with the IRS that could come up here."
Upon hearing of the possible legal snafu, the winners initially decided to give all the money to Child's Play. Then, they decided to scrap the entire thing, sending an email to Kotaku reading:
"So as of now we are officially canceling this entire thing, and refunding everyone's money through PayPal. Sorry about that, we should have done our homework first, but in the rush to get this done, hopefully do something cool for charity and get ourselves a kickstart to start our company, we just didn't do our due diligence. Again, we super apologize for wasting anyone's time."
Apology accepted; it wasn't a waste of time at all. It was pretty interesting, all told. Now go enjoy playing Mass Effect 3.