Blizzard's good deed: Auctioning off old servers for children's charity

If you're a geek like me, chances are you have a closet or a corner of the basement full of old computers. Maybe they still work but they're just too slow to use, or maybe they got fried in that big electrical storm of aught-eight. Whatever the reason, you probably still have them because getting rid of them is such a pain in the neck. You can't just chuck 'em in the bin (or at least, you really really shouldn't and it's possibly illegal for you to do so, depending on where you live).

OK now imagine you're Blizzard Entertainment, the people who bring us World of Warcraft. As they upgrade their hardware they end up with a lot of old servers. They could pay to have them responsibly recycled, of course. But someone at Blizzard HQ thought of a better idea.

Starting Monday, October 17th and running until Monday, November 14th, Blizzard will be auctioning off its old servers on eBay. Each week will see a new batch of servers put up for auction.

If you're not a gamer, you might not understand the appeal here. You're not bidding on just another blade server. You're bidding on the actual server hardware that you and your guild spent so many hours playing on.

blizz_server.jpgBlizzard Entertainment
Server blade as collector's item

This isn't a good way to get some cheap hardware; these are collector's items. What you're actually bidding on is an HP p-Class server blade that comes in a plastic case with a World of Warcraft logo, the server name and the signatures of some of the World of Warcraft team.

Just another example of corporate greed, right? Well, not this time. Blizzard says that all proceeds will go to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. In the end, everybody wins. Blizzard gets rid of that old hardware, a WoW fan gets an awesome collectible, and St. Jude gets some cash to help save the lives of sick kids. It's always nice to end the week with a feel-good story like this one.

Interested in bidding? There's a page set up on eBay and from there you can click through to each week to see when your server is going up for auction (both US and EU servers will be available) and sign up to be notified when that auction begins. There's also a page with a bit more info on Blizzard's site. According to a post at Eurogamer there're about 2,000 server blades available, so there're a few for each game server.

As for those old computers in your closet? I'm guessing you and I would have less success auctioning our old junk off as collectibles. For us, the EPA has a page of information on finding a local place to donate or recycle that old gear in an environmentally friendly way. Please don't just chuck it in the bin!

Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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