Recent Tragedy Affects Gaming Market in Japan
When the destructive earthquake and tsunami hit Japan last week, no one was sure what repercussions the tragedy would have on the gaming industry. Game delays and cancellations were speculated, but it appears the horrid events that transpired last week have struck the industry in greater ways than we imagined. According to reports, numerous game publishers have seen their stocks plummet significantly over the past several days.
Namco Bandai and Square Enix both saw declines in shares, as did Nintendo and Sony. But the companies that took a bigger beating were Konami, Tecmo Koei, and Sega Sammy Holdings, with the latter company seeing a drop of 13.5 percent. Currently, these are the only reports regarding the games industry in the Japanese stock market, but it's likely that other publishers are suffering in the wake of Friday's tragedy.
The power situation in Japan has also affected the gaming market. Online servers for games such as Final Fantasy XI, Final Fantast XIV, and Metal Gear Solid Online were shut down in an attempt to conserve power. Personally, I think it's great that companies such as Square Enix and Konami are taking the appropriate steps to help Japan as much as possible. In a situation like this, conserving power for a country that just went through a horrible incident is far more important than gamers getting their daily dose of online gaming. As common sense as that may sound, it's a huge help.
In addition to the plummeting stock market, several upcoming titles have been affected. The Japanese launch of the upcoming racer Motorstorm: Apocalypse has been pushed back indefinitely. Additionally, Ryu ga Gotoku of the End, a zombie-themed Yakuza title, has also been delayed. Reports also confirm that developer Irem has officially canceled Disaster Report 4, which was slated for launch on PlayStation 3. Obviously, the games listed here have been delayed or canceled because of their destructive themes, as each features apocalyptic imagery that could be deemed too sensitive at the present time.
Japan is in bad shape right now, but video game companies are doing what they can to help. Sega, Zynga, Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo have reportedly been making donations and offering proceeds to disaster relief funds.