UPDATE: In response to Sony's statement, GAME and Gamestation have canceled ALL their online pre-orders for MotorStorm Apocalypse. According to a GAME spokesperson, it was the only course of action that could taken so close to release. No-one who pre-ordered online will see their account debited on Friday, either.
HMV, on the other hand, have kept their customers' pre-orders, but have stated they won't be receiving the game on the original release date this Friday. As such, you will probably be paying the bill. Gameplay customers, on the other hand, might be hearing the dull thud of a package hitting their doormats, as the outlet admitted they'd begun shipping copies of Apocalypse early to customers, before Sony issued their statement.
Sony recently announced their intentions to support relief and recovery efforts in their native Japan by donating up to 300 million yen to disaster-struck communities. And now, in light of the country's tragedy, they have issued a statement announcing plans to postpone the launch of MotorStorm Apocalypse, which depicts a world ravaged by natural disasters not dissimilar to the 8.4 earthquake that struck Japan on the weekend. The game was due for release this Friday.
In their statement, Sony explain they're "very conscious of the parallels between these events and the underlying theme in MotorStorm and are doing everything we can to be as sensitive as possible to the situation". In Apocalypse, the famed MotorStorm event is located to a fictional metropolis known as The City, where a variety of natural disasters such as earthquakes and tornadoes occur during races.
It can't have been an easy decision for Sony, and with the release originally planned for Friday, they're working as hard as possible to remove any sign of the game so as to avoid upsetting those affected by the real-world disaster in Japan. "Although the game itself is already in distribution, we are ceasing any further shipments and removing as much of the marketing materials as possible".
In related news, PS3 owners have reported difficulties connecting to the Playstation Network. Sony's manufacturing plants in Tohoku, where the earthquake's impact hit hard, have been affected, and their call center and repair centers have been suspended for an unknown duration of time. Sony have advised PS3 owners to back up their data, and we suggest you remain patient. [Eurogamer]