If I understand this blog post by Maxis general manager Patrick Buechner correctly, publisher Electronic Arts is set to donate at least $100,000 to the Red Cross this year. The process starts with a new pack of Red Cross-themed downloadable content for "SimCity," which went live earlier this week.
Here's how it works: 80% of the money generated by sales of "SimCity"'s "Red Cross Disaster Relief Set" will be donated to ten Red Cross National Societies around the world. The DLC was released on September 17 (though it hasn't appeared in the Origin store on Mac yet, apparently), and will be available for purchase for one year.
"Throughout this year-long campaign, EA will give at least eighty percent of the player's payment … with a minimum of $100,000, to support humanitarian services of the participating Red Cross National Societies," reads Buechner's FAQ. Reading comprehension is one of the thing's I'm moderately capable of, and that sure reads like EA is donating a hundred grand to the Red Cross this year, no matter the amount raised by the DLC.
The DLC costs $9.99 and includes a Red Cross Relief Center, tents, and two vehicles. Should a natural disaster -- the fire-breathing lizard being my favorite -- befall your simulated city, Red Cross tents will pop up in different areas and tend to up to ten critically injured Sims, working alongside standard emergency services. As your city recovers, the Red Cross tents will disappear, releasing healthy Sims back into the city, where they can continue to work, live, and walk around aimlessly.
While this is the first bit of "SimCity" content that directly supports a charitable organization, Maxis has made a bit of a habit of tying DLC to social awareness programs. In April, an "Attractions Set" was (oddly) supported by an oral hygiene campaign, and "SimCity"'s free downloadable Nissan Leaf touts its reduced energy usage. The Red Cross, then, surely hopes to secure future donations from a new demographic.
“Our creative partnership with EA will inform players of the key services that the Red Cross provides during real world disasters," writes American Red Cross development officer Neal Litvack. "This will bring the Red Cross mission to the public and consumers in an exciting and interactive way while raising funds to support the work of the Red Cross to provide humanitarian services around the world where it is needed most.”
For the record, the Red Cross is usually a pretty decent charity, so rest assured that your and EA's money is being put to ostensibly good use.
Joseph Leray is a freelance writer from Nashville. Follow him on Twitter