Giving Back to Japan: How Gamers Are Doing Their Part

A woman mourns the devastation of Natori, Miyagi Prefecture, in northern Japan on March 13. Source: Asahi Shimbun, Reuters
 Recent times have been trying for Japan, after the country suffered its worse earthquake in 100 hundred years, shocking the region at a frightening 9.0 Richter scale. While Japan and world powers are actively doing their part to restore the Nation’s confidence and stability, other communities in the world have been quietly contributing to this humanitarian cause as well.

One of these, the Gaming community, has turned into a real fraternity with its active efforts in gathering donations for injured Japan. Japan popularized household names like Mario, Sonic, Pac-man and many other memorable characters that gamers all over the world have come to associate their childhoods with.

Since the unfortunate disaster, Zynga - best known for their massively popular games CityVille and Zynga Poker – has used its leading market position in social gaming to source for donations that would go directly to alleviating this tragedy. Zynga asked users to donate money through the purchase of virtual goods in FarmVille, CityVille, FrontierVille and its other games, from which all proceeds would be donated to Save the Children’s Japan relief efforts.

In a record 36 hours, Zynga managed to raise USD $1 million through their sales. Zynga has raised millions of dollars in recent years through similar campaigns, most notably for the relief efforts in Haiti.

Bungie Games is also taking big steps to contribute to Japan’s relief. The makers of Halo 3 are putting together a campaign on their company’s website to drive donations through the sale of wrist bands. These wrist bands have the words “Ganbare Nippon” on them, spreading the spirit of unity, spiritual strength and endurance. The campaign will continue until 30th Apr, 2011. Read more about this here.

Another big name in Gaming, Sony has been participating in its own way by making a donation platform available on their gaming network, the PSN. Donations come in $2, $5, $10, $25 and $50. PlayStation gamers can access this platform by logging onto the network and going under the “Aid Japan” option, found under the New Releases tab. All donations collected will go directly to the American Red Cross Society for Japan’s disaster relief.

In difficult times like these, it is certainly heartwarming to learn that the gaming world isn’t merely about fun and recreation, but more of a wired community that cares for one another, regardless of geography or culture. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Japanese people and we hope they pull through these crises well.


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