On March 11th, a massive 9.0 magnitude earthquake hit the coast of Northeast Japan at 2:46pm (JST). As the news spread all over world, various news outlets, websites and companies rushed to create resources to help the Japanese people. One of the many communities that used their resources to aid Japan was the video game industry.
Many of the large, international game companies call Japan home. To help rebuild their country, Sony, Nintendo, Namco Bandai, Sega Sammy, and Koei Tecmo collectively donated over $12 million. Most of them have also decided to use Japan’s existing resources sparingly by periodically enforcing blackouts at their studios, turning off game servers for online games and putting a halt on development of new games and appearances at trade expos.
Non-Japanese companies are getting involved as well. Social gaming giant, Zynga (through their initative Zynga.org), partnered with Save the Children to create Japanese inspired items across all their games from Farmville to Cafe World. These limited-edition virtual goods are being sold to players and each bring unique elements to the game. 100% of the proceeds generated through the purchase of these new items are going straight to Japanese relief efforts. Other games associated with Zynga, like Words with Friends, integrated donate buttons to further assist the earthquake stricken nation. Zynga and Save the Children have already raised over $1 million in a few short days.
Game developers who may not have the time or capacity to create new items in their games but want to help can always donate portions of their sales to the aid efforts. A good example of this idea started last month. On February 22nd, an earthquake struck New Zealand and affected their major game design studios. To aid their country, the game studio PikPok started rallying fellow New Zealand game designers to launch the website App Appeal. Participating New Zealand developers opted in to give the proceeds of their app sales to aid the reconstruction of their country. From large studios, to single person teams, App Appeal proved that promoting your work for a good cause can help generate necessary funds. One developer on App Appeal generated over $5,700 with one game!
And finally, you don’t need to buy any games to make meaningful contributions to Japan. Google has set up a website that is an important resource for up to the minute information about Japan’s status as well as a place to easily send money straight to the Japanese Red Cross.
You can learn more and send your contributions here: