The anti-climactic ending to the Mass Effect franchise has transformed the mass of videogame fans and consumers into an online army, protesting both Bioware, the game developers who created the series, as well as EA games, who own Bioware and published Mass Effect 3. Protests have included angry letters and emails as well as the delivery of 402 protest cupcakes to Bioware's offices. Now fans are arguing that these protests have caused a dip in EA's stock price, and are calling for a boycott of the company in order to pressure Bioware to release a better ending for Mass Effect.
A post on the website, holdtheline.com, a blog devoted to protesting the Mass Effect 3 ending, pointed out the stock value of EA has been on a downward slide ever since the game was released in early March (this is part of a larger downward trend in EA's stock price which began after the winter holiday shopping season).
Mass Effect 3 was released on March 6, following lots of hype from both fans of the series and a huge marketing campaign. By March 8, EA's stock price had jumped up from 16.44 to 17.40 and continued to spike up and down over the next few days as consumers continued to purchase Mass Effect 3 before news of the disappointing ending went viral. The next week EA's stock began a clear drop in value that has continued unimpeded for over two weeks.
The author of the blog post, who calls himself Jonthurtell, hopes that EA will finally respond to their angry consumers when it starts affecting their bottom line.
Long story short, he wrote. We threaten their investment and hurt their profits and they will cave. We're not only dealing with games loving Bioware here we're dealing with money loving EA and we have to speak in both languages. Cupcakes and creativity for the development team and $$$ signs for the corporate money men.
Jonthurtell goes on to suggest that angry fans target EA's newest money maker, Star Wars: The Old Republic. He notes that developing a massive online multiplayer game like that one costs a lot of money to develop. EA expects to make a lot of money of its consumers from this one game, and a coordinated boycott might finally send a message to the corporation's executives if the fans can organize a movement that's already underway.
One commenter argued that the dip in EA's stock price was directly correlated to the cupcake protest. Other comments indicated that a number of consumers have already cancelled their pre-orders for the EA's next blockbuster title. Whether or not online murmurings of a boycott turn in to a real movement remain to be seen.