It goes without saying that the situation in Japan is, mildly put, absolutely devastating. Much of the recent news coverage has focused on the unfolding crisis; unsettling as that is -- the news does tend toward the sensational -- it takes the focus off the larger, and far more significant scope of the disaster. People are once again donating money for relief, and the video game industry is following suit. Capcom has dropped the iOS version of Super Street Fighter IV to 99 cents, all of which will go to charity. Nintendo and Sony have both pledged $3.6 million, with Sony providing 30,000 radio to assist with the recovery effort. Sega is giving $2.4 million, and has dropped the price on Sonic The Hedgehog titles and Football Manager Handheld 2011. Like Super Street Fighter 4, all money from sales will go to charity. Microsoft is donating $2 million, while Namco Bandai is offering roughly $1.2 million.
More after the jump!
Gamers are also being given a chance to aid the effort. Eve Online has introduced a "PLEX for Good" which, according to msnbc, will let players "donate in-game currency to be "reverse redeemed" into real-world currency. Each donation through this program will be converted into cash currency and donated to the Red Cross." Gaia online will have in-game goods available for purchase, with the proceeds going to Japan. For those who find themselves hopelessly hooked on the various "Ville" games, Zynga has announced the following ways to donate:
- Café World: Players can place Japanese inspired decorations in their Café to benefit the initiative.
- CityVille: Citizens can plant a limited edition sweet potato crop to feed their population and stock their restaurants.
- FrontierVille: Players can buy a limited edition Kobe cow to place in their frontier.
- FarmVille: Farmers can plant a limited edition daikon radish crop that never withers.
- Words With Friends: Players can donate directly by clicking on a Save the Children button inside the game.
- YoVille: Players can purchase homes and furniture inspired by Japanese architecture and design.
- Zynga Poker: Fans going for a royal flush can donate by purchasing access to a VIP table.
- zBar: Players can donate directly by clicking on a Save the Children button inside the bar that sits across the top of their game on Facebook.
Why donate money? Simply put, it's the decent and human thing to do. The devastation has been nothing if not utterly staggering, and the full extent of the damage, both to the economy and to the people, won't be full known for quite some time. Should something like this happen here, I would hope that Japan would do the same for us. There's no way to tack on some kind of silver lining -- it is death and destruction, plain and simple -- but tragedies of this sort do have a way of replenishing one's hope in the decency of people. The volunteerism and the economic relief currently being offered is heartwarming, and hopefully, in the spirit of our common humanity, the people of the world can do their part to aid Japan in this time of dire need.