Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) today updated the status of the Great East Japan Earthquake relief effort through PlayStation Network which started in North America and Europe on March 19, 2011 and in Japan and Asia on March 24, 2011.  PlayStation Store has offered special custom themes for the PlayStation 3 system to those who donated money through the PlayStation Network to support emergency relief and recovery efforts for the Great East Japan Earthquake.  The effort is now operating in 40 countries around the globe.

PlayStation users’ worldwide donations as of March 31, 2011, totaled to 109.6 million yen (approximately US $1.318 million).  The full amount will be donated to an organization in each region supporting the relief and recovery efforts in communities affected by the earthquake; American Red Cross – Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami Fund for North America, British Red Cross for Europe, and Central Community Chest of Japan known as the Red Feather Community Chest Movement for Japan and Asia.

“We would like to extend our deepest sympathies to those affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake,” said Kazuo Hirai, President and Group CEO, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.  “While we continue to make every effort to help the recovery of the affected communities in the region, I would like to express our gratitude to every single PlayStation user across the world who made a contribution to the effort.”

Previous to this, Sony updated the status of various fundraising and relief efforts in connection with the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck the northeastern region of Japan on March 11, 2011.

Sony began its relief efforts on March 13, 2011, with an initial 300 million yen (approximately $3.6 million) donation to the Central Community Chest of Japan. In addition, the Company donated 30,000 radios, 500,000 batteries and 125 televisions for emergency use in the immediate aftermath of the disaster. Also, in order to help children in the affected areas, 1,200 cartoon character blankets were sent to various shelters, and 400 DVDs are currently being prepared for distribution.

In response to the strong desire of Sony employees to contribute to the relief efforts, Sony’s Group companies around the world, including its electronics, entertainment and game subsidiaries, have also established a special Company-wide matching gift program through which employee contributions to various relief agencies will be matched, dollar for dollar, by the Company. As of March 24, 2011, approximately one week after the start of this initiative, approximately 40,000 Sony employees from 40 countries had collectively contributed more than 200 million yen (approximately $2.4 million) to the relief efforts. The program is still in progress.

Sony employees in Japan are also volunteering their time to assist some of the hundreds of thousands of people who have been displaced as a result of this tragedy. For example, Sony’s Sendai Technology Center, which was severely affected by the tsunami, has already instituted a volunteer program led by members of company’s soccer team, Sony Sendai FC, to interact with children at various shelters that have been established throughout the region. In another volunteer program, Sony employees are helping to set up and support the operation of Sony video conferencing systems at an NGO working in the affected areas. The system will connect various locations in which the NGO operates to facilitate effective communication. The Company is also working to send groups of Sony employee volunteers to assist NGOs and local government groups with the relief efforts.

“We are deeply committed to doing everything we can to support the people of Japan in this time of need,” said Sir Howard Stringer, Chairman, CEO and President of Sony Corporation. “With the support of the global community, I am confident that Japan will continue to navigate this very difficult time with determination, perseverance and success.”

Thus far, the total amount that has been donated by Sony Group companies and employees around the world is approximately 1 billion yen (approximately $12.2 million). This figure includes the value of the products donated to date and donations that had previously been announced from Sony Life Insurance Co., Ltd., Sony Assurance Inc., Sony Bank Inc., and So-net Entertainment Corp.