Why Yakuza is the equivalent of our generation’s Family Doctor: this is how product placement has gotten us without us knowing – Yakuza

He product placement It’s something we’ve been seeing in the entertainment world for years. If you don’t know what it is, let me tell you that it is the advertising strategy that consists of the introduction of a product or brand within the audiovisual space. In cinema and television It’s very common, and there are more aggressive and more passive methods of doing it. For example, there are subtle ways to implement it, such as the vehicles John Wick drives, the products that we saw in the Spanish series Médico de Familia or the brand of the laptop that Doctor House uses, but also some much more direct ones, like the Wilson ball that practically stars in the movie Castaway.

Product placement is the advertising strategy of introducing a brand in the audiovisual space

But the fact that it is something more common in the cinematographic field does not mean that video games are alien to it; far from it. We have one of the bloodiest cases in sports sagas, with NBA 2K as the main exponent through drink-sponsored replays, match graphics presented by companies or actual clothing brands. This, which has led to some criticism from the press and the players, has gone somewhat more unnoticed in the yakuza sagawhich gives us the best example of how carry out product placement and that people even value it positively.

The franchise that develops the Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio She is a regular in this type of performance, with all kinds of real products forming part of her works. In 2009, it was news that the fourth numbered installment of the series had in-game ads thanks to a Sega-Double Fusion Japan deal, but it’s something that’s been there from the start. They are known to all SEGA arcade machines that allow us to run classic company titles within the game itself, but there is much more to its world. In fact, it doesn’t just happen in the Yakuza titles: the saga will be renamed Like a Dragon globally and will continue to happen, and in games of Judgment we also see it without any qualms.

The Yakuza saga has spent years including real products, excusing itself in giving the sensation of a more real city

Its main location serves as a starting point. the territory of Kamurocho is inspired by a royal district in Japan, specifically in Kabukicho, the most popular red light district in Tokyo, and in it you can find all kinds of leisure options: from restaurants or host clubs (people who accompany you drinking and chatting) to pachinkos or the happy arcades that we have mentioned. This gives rise to the franchise having the possibility of include a multitude of real elements in your world, as a result of different advertising agreements and helping this in turn serve to offer the sensation of a more alive and realistic city. We leave you below some of the most outstanding examples.

SEGA arcade games


SEGA Club (image: Yakuza Wiki)

The most evident and recognizable case is that of the sega arcades, a way that the company has to advertise itself while taking advantage of it to offer secondary content and variety in playable terms. In Theater Square there is the largest building, but in different areas of the map you can both see posters and posters of the brand and play classics such as Out Run, Virtua Fighter either Space Harrier.



Café Pronto (image: Official PlayStation Blog)

What would Japan be without gastronomy! Food is one of the many strengths of the Land of the Rising Sun, and the Japanese love being able to enjoy street food or restaurant dining. Therefore, in Yakuza we can find a long list of real restaurants that have appeared in different installments: from the Blue Seal Ice Cream ice cream chain, through the Pronto cafeteria and arriving at Sushi Zanmai, a sushi place.

But there is also no shortage of specific products such as instant noodles by Acecooka company that is even part of a minor story in Yakuza 3waves pizzas from Pizza-Lathe second highest grossing pizza chain in Japan with the largest presence in Yakuza 0. This brand even stars in a side mission of the title.

… and the drink


Mountain Dew cans for sale

However, where perhaps the Yakuza saga lavishes itself most is on drink, with a strong presence of real spirits brands. On the one hand, we find very Japanese products such as Orion beer, which is the most popular beer brand in Okinawa, or Suntory drinks, a company that enjoys a long-term collaboration with the SEGA franchise, with its products appearing in all games the same. However, there is also a presence of very important foreign multinationals, as is the case with the PepsiCo drinkswho have made products such as 7UP, Mountain Dew or Gatorade available to SEGA.



‘Don Quixote’ shop (image: Yakuza Wiki)

With more than 160 outlets spread throughout Japan, Don Quixote’s shops They are common in all games before Yakuza: Like a Dragon, and an anachronistic version even appears in titles set in other times. In them you can find products of all kinds, from food to luxury items, and in the game it is one of the most prominent places. In spite of everything, the saga does not lack the presence of proper names such as Seicomartone of the largest chains on the island of Hokkaido.



Joysound ad (image: Official PlayStation Blog)

Finally, it is worth stopping to talk about entertainment. Although over the years we have found different types of ads from real brands like Sony (Kiryu’s mobile in Yakuza 6 is a Sony Xperia) or GAGA Milano watches, others are part of activities that we can enjoy within the games. Without going any further, in a mission of the sixth installment we clean the windows of the APA Hotel, but we also have the DARTSLIVE dart machines in the bars, Joysound software being part of the famous karaoke minigame or the Maharaja nightclubs that we can visit at Yakuza 0 in both Kamurocho and Sotenbori.

These are just a few examples of product placement in the Yakuza saga, whose greatest achievement may not be offering interesting stories, characters or mechanics -which it does-, but the fact that they have incorporated all these brands into their video games and that players have not perceived it as too much of an aspect. prior negative. This is something increasingly common in different proposals of the medium at hand, but SEGA and the Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio They have even managed to create the sensation that the product placement contributes to immersion. And that, when we talk about a product that already requires an initial outlay by the consumer, is something that is rarely achieved in terms of advertising. Remember that right now you can enjoy the new game in the series as we have told you in the analysis of Like a Dragon Ishin.