Reverb Publishing backtracks on feline PR stunt

Promise to rescue homeless kittens on game's success goes awry

It seems Reverb Publishing misjudged its audience when it offered a $5000 donation to the Humane Society for homeless kittens if its game Edge Of Space won approval on Steam Greenlight.

A press release warned if the game, developed by handyman Studios and published by Reverb, didn't win approval by October 15 "that money will disappear, like a puff of smoke in the uncaring wind, leaving poor kitties to survive in the harsh elements, be placed in harm's way and possibly scheduled for euthanasia."

Now the company has been forced to apologise for its "non-traditional" approach to PR.

"We issued a 'call to arms' press release to garner support for a game that we're publishing, Edge of Space. It's a game that we're really excited about and we took a non-traditional approach to garner attention for it as well as creating a chance to donate money to a good cause, but it seems as though our release was taken the wrong way by some people," the company told Eurogamer in an official statement.

"Even before the promotion was approved Reverb had decided to make a donation of $5,000 to the Humane Society today, this was just a fun way of drumming up some attention for the game. The release was meant to grab attention and call readers to action, but we regret if we made anyone uncomfortable or angry with its content. Millions of stray cats enter shelters each year, with the yearly cost of humane shelters resting in the billions. Our wording may have been muddled, but our intentions are good."

Handyman Studios called the affair a "misunderstanding" and added it did "not support guilt voting in any way," hinting that the idea was very much Reverb's.

Reverb vice president of business development Doug Kennedy came out in defence on the move on the game's Steam Greenlight page.

"Does anyone really think that that we were not going to make the $5000 donation, come on folks, seriously?"

"I've been in the industry for 20 years, I remember when it was fun, lighten up a bit and appreciate the fact that a great organisation like the Humane Society is getting a ton of attention and a nice contribution."

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Latest comments (5)

Zidaya Zenovka Blogger, Writer, freelance artist. 8 years ago
So, instead of a sincere apology, we get a 'lighten up'? That's not an apology. Just admit that you made a stupid move and tell yourself 'maybe i'm not the most compassionate or most forward thinking person in the world." because that was a pretty dumb thing to write.
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What's up with all these 'controversies' lately? Maybe it's just that I'm from the Netherlands, but over here we don't take every little thing someone says so seriously, especially when it's clearly meant as a joke. Not a funny one, but a joke.

I think he's totally right; lighten up.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Laurens Bruins on 2nd October 2012 10:56pm

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Eric Lacroix Sr. Business Development Manager EMEA, Virtuos8 years ago
I totally aggree with you Laurens. I think this is a problem of humour and in some very conservatives countries, you just can't "play" with humour and that's a shame. I personally find this joke very funny. who can honnestly believe that Reverb would have put these little kitties' life into jeopardy? Come on!
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Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters8 years ago
Typical Daily Mail-style overreaction to a light hearted comment. It seems to me some people sit there actively looking for anything they can possibly take offence at.
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Liam Farrell8 years ago
It's the risk you take with humour. And there's no real way to predict how people will react because you don't know who exactly is viewing it. Go back to the brief "dick wolves" thing Penny Arcade had. Reverb really should just have apologised, donated more money and moved on.
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