Game Companies Step Up Big to Support Japan Earthquake & Tsunami Victims, and You Can Help Too!

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It continues to amaze me how people come to each other’s aid in the face of disaster and tragedy, regardless of country, race, religion, background, etc. We saw it after 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, the earthquake in Haiti and the Gulf oil spill, and now we’re seeing it once again in Japan following last week’s devastating earthquake and tsunami.

The video game community in particular has stepped up to the plate big time in an effort to provide relief in Japan’s time of need. Square Enix has donated 100 million Japanese yen (roughly $1.2 million) to the relief effort, and is also hosting a series of fundraisers through various online services and TAITO amusement facilities. Korean MMORPG developer NCsoft has gone even further, ponying up one month’s revenue of 500 million yen ($6.39 million), and NCJapan “will continue offering game services in the quake-stricken country with a minimal workforce and electricity, and will donate all incurring revenues to quake relief efforts.”

Square Enix and Konami have even taken online games, including Final Fantasy XI, Final Fantasy XIV and Metal Gear Online, offline to help conserve energy, and games with natural disaster themes such as MotorStorm Apocalypse and Disaster Report 4 have been appropriately delayed in Japan or canceled outright. [Update] MotorStorm Apocalypse‘s April 12th North American launch has now also been postponed.

Many game companies abroad are now providing ways for the entire gaming community to get involved. In most instances, you can quickly and easily make your donation simply by purchasing a game. Here is a list of the different benefit sales and fundraisers I’ve received emails on this week. And please, if you know about any others, drop a link in the comments or send it to our tip line at tips@vgblogger.com and I will update the list.

– Aksys Games Benefit Sale: Through March 24th, all proceeds earned through the company’s online store will be donated to charity.

– Street Fighter IV iPhone Sale: Until March 22nd, the iPhone version of Street Fighter IV is on sale for only 99 cents, and all sales will go to support the relief effort, in addition to Capcom’s immediate 100 million yen donation.

– PopCap iPhone/iPad Sale: Between Saturday, March 19th at 12:01 a.m. PDT and Sunday, March 20th at midnight PDT, PopCap will run a sale on iPhone, iPod touch and iPad games Bejeweled, Bookworm, Chuzzle, Peggle and Plants vs. Zombies, with all proceeds to be donated to the Red Cross. During the sale, the iPhone/iPod touch versions will sell for only 99 cents, and the iPad versions will sell for $1.99.

– Direct2Drive Fundraiser Sale: Through March 21st, Direct2Drive will donate $1 to the American Red Cross for every game purchased, and individual publishing partners like Paradox Interactive, 2K Games and Atari will match every dollar raised with an extra dollar of their own. During this time, D2D’s entire library of first-person shooters will be available at a 20% discount, including newly released games like Homefront and Bulletstorm. Use coupon code SPECWAR5 at checkout to apply.

– GameZone’s Mega Red Cross Fundraiser: GameZone has partnered up with Capcom, Square Enix and THQ to auction off some amazing prize packs, and is also auctioning off ‘Mystery Swag Boxes’ through eBay. All donations will be given to the Red Cross.

– Mastiff Facebook Campaign: For every 100 people who ‘like’ Mastiff’s Facebook page between now and the end of April, Mastiff will donate $100 to the Red Cross, to a maximum donation limit of $25,000.

– Sony PlayStation Network Fundraiser: Sony is using the PlayStation Network to raise funds for the relief effort. From the “Aid Japan” heading of the PlayStation Store’s ‘New Releases’ section, you can make donations of $2, $5, $10, $25 or $50 straight from your PSN wallet, and by doing so you’ll be treated to a beautiful ‘Sunrise Blossom’ XMB theme. All funds will then be given to the American Red Cross – Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami Fund. Sony Group is aiding the recovery in many other ways, too.

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Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!