The devastating Typhoon Yolanda (known globally as Typhoon Haiyan) devastated The Philippines two months ago when it swept through Southeast Asia. As of January 7, the tropical cyclone has claimed more than 6,100 lives with more than 28,000 injured and 1,700 missing, with damage costs totaling more than $810 million.
In an effort to build awareness and contribute to the relief effort, Mad Catz teamed up with Capcom to auction off twelve limited-edition arcade sticks last December, with proceeds going towards the Philippine Red Cross.
We recently talked with Mad Catz’ community and sponsorship manager Mark Julio through email about the collaboration.
Jason Yang: How difficult was the process of setting up the fundraiser?
Mark Julio: The disaster that is Typhoon Haiyan was unfortunate and something that the world was not prepared for. When it happened, we were already making plans for our involvement and support of Capcom Cup. The team at Capcom has always been a pleasure to work with and they were fully supportive of the idea to help support the disaster relief.
JY: What’s the difference between the Capcom Cup arcade sticks and other sticks on the market?
MJ: Aside from the obvious aesthetic platinum themed look, this is the first TE2 we’ve made for Xbox 360. Not only that, they are individually numbered and engraved on a metal plate within the control panel. It really gives it a classy touch and makes it stand out as a premium item.
JY: Why didn’t Mad Catz build and auction off more of these fight sticks?
MJ: We wanted to make it limited and sought after, a real trophy that stood out. That’s why we only made 24. We looked back at similar past projects such as the Gold TE sticks at EVO 2010, and it seemed making a platinum-themed one based off our latest arcade stick, the TE2, was a no brainer.
Unfortunately, we are still pending payment on 4 of them. I’m afraid the first four auctions may have been victims of fraud or trolling. Regardless, our plan is to use these four leftover sticks and try to raise more funds and awareness in the near future. I know by doing an auction we kind of put the sticks out of reach to most individuals, maybe we’ll do a giveaway that everyone can enter? We’ll think of something.
JY: How was the turnout for the fundraiser?
MJ: I think it was successful. I would like to take the time to thank all the individuals, groups and sites promoting the auction and the cause we were fighting for. I’d like to thank SRK, Eventhubs, IPLAYWINNER and Kotaku just to name a few. Someone actually called Kotaku and I’m glad.
JY: How much money did the auction raise?
MJ: The initial auctions ended at about $25,000. It was amazing. Our goal is to give as much as we can after the cost of goods and eBay fees. We don’t have the final number yet, but rest assured, we are doing our best to give them all that we can. Once we’ve settled what we’ll do with the unpaid Platinum sticks, we’ll update the community.
JY: Does Mad Catz plan on creating similar limited-edition fight sticks for future philanthropy events or disaster relief?
MJ: We have no immediate plans to do more things like this, but if you’ve followed Mad Catz in the past, you’ll know we are right there on the front lines when it comes to helping out those in need.
JY: I thought the auction was a great idea. Do you feel like FGC organizers should hold future tournaments with similar philanthropy goals? If so, what’s your advice for them?
MJ: I don’t think there is enough awareness of this kind of stuff. There is always something going on for those in need. I know Big E (organizer for Winter Brawl, Summer Jam, and Northeast Championships) in Philadelphia often holds charity events such as toy and food drives during the holidays. One of our sponsored teams, AG (Always Godlike), does similar charitable work. I think we should focus on and make goals of these philanthropies. Less drama, more drive to help good causes. We can accomplish so much more if we work with our friends and enemies as long as we have the same goal.
JY: Any additional comment?
MJ: Again I’d like to thank everyone who has supported our fight for relief. On behalf of the Philippine Red Cross, Capcom and Mad Catz, you have our deepest thanks and appreciation. To everyone affected by the disaster in the Philippines, hang in there and take care.
I would also like to thank everyone who has supported Mad Catz over the past few years. Our community is a unique one. We often get caught up in debates about who we are and how we should act as a community. Just don’t forget: we do amazing things together. I’m proud to be part of that. Rough times are ahead. They always are. We’ll do our best to fight and have fun. I urge you to do the same. Thanks![hr]
While the Haiyan catastrophe has passed, relief efforts in the Philippines are still on-going. The Huffington Post recently compiled a list of organizations working to help the devastated area, so please be sure to give that some of your attention should you be interested in helping out.