You know things are getting worse when companies devise clever schemes to reap the benefits of tax-free marketing campaigns. The recently founded "non-profit" organization, PC Gaming Alliance, is a perfect example of just this. While on the outside it's purpose may come off as a welcome idea to the average, good-hearted gamer, the underlying truth of the matter may be far different than that.
First of all, what does it mean to be a non-profit organization. In technical terms it is when an organization does not seek to reap profits, and it's income is lesser than, or equal to, it's necessary finances needed in order to sustain itself. Obviously, there is a lot more to it than just that, and there are also numerous factors which serve as major beneficial incentives. For example, non-profit organizations have the opportunity to attain tax-exempt status. Another major advantage is that donations given to such an organization are often tax-refundable, and can be written off as charitable expenses.
So now, keeping this all in mind, what is the PC Gaming Alliance all about then? According to the organization's web site, the "PC Gaming Alliance (PCGA) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to drive worldwide growth of PC gaming". In other words, it's a "non-profit" organization who's purpose is to revitalize a sluggish market, thereby increasing growth in the PC hardware and software markets. Naive gamers might be conned into believing the organization is there to benefit them, yet how exactly this would be achieved remains unclear. Sociologically speaking, the organization has no direct benefit to society, and in no way constitutes an organization who's purpose is the people. On the other hand, there are a considerable number of groups who stand to directly benefit from such an structure, and those would just so happen to include share holders in corporations that produce software and hardware that PC gamers use. Microsoft, Intel, AMD, Dell, and Nvdia are several companies which would, no doubt, greatly benefit from resurrected PC gaming "growth".
Then, who exactly is behind the PC Gaming Alliance? You probably already are aware of this, but sure enough it's the same companies; Microsoft, Intel, AMD, Dell, and Nvidia. That's not just a coincidence that the companies who have the most to gain from such a campaign are also the same companies behind the so-called non-profit organization.
So it seems companies are not only getting more and more clever, but that they are constantly using the systems in place to their advantage. Sure, you could easily argue that the PCGA is truly a non-profit organization since it won't actually profit itself. However, you'd have to be completely blind to ignore the fact that those who will benefit the most from the organization are also those who founded the organization itself.
Is this the beginning of the end, or is this possibly the "same old" to a greater degree? In any event, it seems as though if you play your cards right you can get away with free advertisement to boost your revenue. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that what's good for the PCGA is good for the companies behind it. Because donors to non-profit organizations can write off their contributions, in a sense it would mean that these same corporations can get away with free marketing by using a puppet organization to do their bidding. Because of the nature of how non-profit organizations are treated through the legal system, it could, and may, mean that other companies can easily jump on the bandwagon. Heck, if your business's sales are slumping, slap together a dummy organization that's purpose is to promote your industry, and voila: free marketing.
Excuse this jaded and skeptical gamer if my take on the whole situation doesn't sit too well with you, but the very idea of what appears to be going on doesn't sit very well with me. I love games, and I love the people who make them and make them possible. But that doesn't mean that I will treat those who's business's revolve around them with any sort of immunity. The PCGA appears to be nothing more than a highly decorated scam. By sugar-coating a concept gamers can eagerly eat up and embrace, most of us ignore the possibility that it isn't even setup for us. While it may be true that the PCGA will operate as a non-profit organization, all of the companies behind it will clearly profit directly as a result. I don't know about you, but that sounds to me to be a lot more like a well-planned charade than anything else. If it's only a matter of time before the PCGA's unquestionable, incentive for the gamers of the world becomes apparent, then maybe my doubts can be assuaged. Until then, I think it's best if we remain skeptical by calling their bluff.