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8.9 Magnitude Earthquake and Tsunamis Slam Japan, Updates on Sony and Other Developers

March 11, 2011 Written by Mike Hartnett

If you live in North America, odds are you were asleep when the chaos went down. During the mid-afternoon hours in Japan, a massive 8.9 magnitude earthquake hit off Japan’s northeastern coast, followed by several significant aftershocks, and a massive tsunami, which devastated the country’s coastlines several times over, especially along Sendai in Miyagi Prefecture.

Twitter is currently lighting up with news coming out of Japan regarding the well-being of some of the industry’s most well-known game studios and their personnel. We have some of their commentary, and will do our best to update this article throughout the day, should we come across more.

We’ve make a list of comments regarding the well-being of those affected, and will continually update it as the day progresses.

“I just got confirmation that SCEJ and SCEI are fine. WHEW!” – Cade Peterson of Sony Computer Entertainment.

“All our colleagues in Aoyama and Shinagawa are ok. I hope the same is true for everyone else affected” – Warren Keyes of Sony Computer Entertainment.

“Kyoto’s fine.”Dylan Cuthbert of Q-Games

“I’m alright.”Hideo Kojima of Kojima Productions and Konami

“All of our staff evacuated safely. We want to send our support to all effected in this tragedy.”Suda 51.

“We are safe here at our Osaka and Tokyo offices, but more importantly, our hearts go out to everyone effected by the earthquake in Japan.”Platinum Games.

“Relieved. Plunged at home here somehow.” (Rough translation) – Fumito Ueda of Team Ico.

“Thanks for you guys who emailed,tweeted,chat to me. Epicenter is far so I’m okay.” – Musician Baiyon of Q-Games and Media Molecule.

“As far as we know, everyone is fine.” – Sega Community Team.

Sony did have to shut six of its factories which lay closest to the epicenter of the quake, and this is just a small snippet from the vast amount of dialogue that has been flying back and forth throughout the industry. As many of you probably already know, many of the games we enjoy and the companies behind them are based in Japan. Incredibly, less than an hour after the quake, the number of tweets coming from Tokyo were topping more than 1,200 per minute, according to Tweet-o-Meter.

The regions around Tokyo seem to be doing better than most of the country at the moment, but it’s too soon to assume that the threat has come to an end, with tsunami warnings still active across most of the country, and aftershocks still occurring. Tsunami warnings are also up for most of the Pacific, including the West Coast which is another hot spot for game studios.

Death tolls are, unfortunately, rising by the hour in Japan, as well as the number of missing individuals. Google has gone ahead and set up a person finder if you need info on the whereabouts of friends and family in Japan, and networks like NHK and Al-Jazeera are doing a good job of covering the story live. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those effected by this tragedy, and we’ll be sure to keep you updated if we hear anything further regarding the well-being of other industry folk stationed over in Japan.

Donate to the Red Cross here to help with the relief work.