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Japan's Game Industry Combats Disaster

Posted On: 3/19/2011

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TOKYO -- Sega, Namco, Konami and Capcom, among other giants of Japan's amusement industry, are working to overcome physical and financial damages that resulted from the 9.0 earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11.

Sony and Nintendo each contributed $3.6 million to relief efforts. Sega said it was donating $2.4 million, while Namco Bandi, Tecmo and Square Enix each pledged $1.2 million.

Information coming out of Japan remained sketchy at presstime. It is unknown how many arcades or machines may have been destroyed or what damage may have been sustained at game manufacturing facilities.

Bloomberg reported that consumer technology companies temporarily shut down following the quake. Among them is Sony's PlayStation repair center, located in one of the hardest hit zones. Sony confirmed the center suffered no loss of life.

Nintendo of Japan said none of its facilities was damaged and none of its personnel was killed.

As earlier reported in VT, the secretary-general of the Japan Vending Machine Manufacturers Association has advised his counterparts in the U.S. and Europe that many vending machines were damaged by the disaster. | SEE STORY

A visiting American, Chance Perez of California, was playing games in a Tokyo arcade when the quake struck. He recorded the event through his cellphone camera. Patrons are smiling and calm at first, but within seconds, as machines shook and merchandise fell off shelves, the mood changed. Children can be heard crying and teens discuss the best way to move to the roof of the building for safety. | SEE VIDEO

The London Telegraph reported that thousands of ATMs across the capital were knocked out for several hours on March 16 after customers overloaded the system by attempting to withdraw cash.

According to press reports, several videogame manufacturers temporarily shut down their Internet servers, suspending service for online games. Some consumer game manufacturers said certain game releases would be delayed or, in the case of earthquake-themed titles, canceled.

Within 72 hours of the quake, stock prices on the Tokyo Stock Exchange plummed across the board; game companies were no exception. Companies whose shares dropped included Capcom (14.2%), Sega Sammy Holdings (3.5%), Tecmo (10.7%), Konami (9.9%), Sony (9.1%), Nintendo (7.6%) and Namco (6.4%).