Japan quake: Charity begins, local games activity hit hard
Last week’s devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan has badly disrupted local games activity, but the industry has launched several charitable initiatives to support ongoing aid efforts.
A series of promotional events for games in Japan have been cancelled or postponed following Friday’s disaster. Earlier, Square Enix and Konami confirmed they were shutting down servers for Final Fantasy XI, XIV and Metal Gear Online to conserve energy, following two explosions at one of the country’s nuclear power plants. Events for Yakuza of the End, BlazBlue Continuum Shift II, Dead or Alive Dimensions and the Monster Hunter Festa have all been affected (via Andriasang).
Furthermore, according to Famitsu, Sony’s delayed the release of Motorstorm Apocalypse in Japan from its original release of this Thursday to an unconfirmed new date. This is the second such delay for the Evolution racer following the earthquake that hit Christchurch in New Zealand last month. The company has also put on hold its PlayStation information and repair centers, a report from Andriasang claims. Sony will keep PlayStation Network open in Japan, but insists that connectivity to the service will be difficult to access in some cases. The report also says that some content updates will most likely be delayed.
Sega’s also gone into delay mode, holding back Yakuza spin-off Of The End to a date yet to be announced. The title was due to release this week for PS3. Microsoft’s also held back Xbox Live-related products as well as announcing a delay to the Japanese release of Dragon Age: Origins expansion Awakening. It’s also cancelled a national tour for Kinect. However, company Irem went one step further and canned its upcoming title Disaster Report 4 for PS3. The game seen you trying to escape an earthquake in Tokyo.
While the earthquake has hit local games activity, though, the industry, locally and further afield, has started to make financial donations to the aid effort.
Platform holders Nintendo and Sony have both contributed, with Nintendo donating ¥300 million (£2.3 million). Sony Corporation has donated the same sum, as well as 30,000 radios. Publishers 5pb and Namco Bandai have also contributed.
In the west, Zynga has teamed up with Save the Children to raise relief money. All profits from certain micro-transactions in the firm’s games – such as buying a sweet potato crop in CityVille, or a Kobe cow in Frontierville or radishes in Farmville – will be added to aid operations. Sports Interactive has also announced a charity initiative to help victims of the earthquake. The studio has promised to donate all of its revenue from the iOS version of Football Manager Handheld 2011 to a disaster relief fund in Japan for seven days, beginning last Friday. (Source: vg247)