Nintendo Contract Asks Developers to Confirm They’re Not Yakuza

Honestly, it seems like a reasonable demand.

Posted By | On 04th, May. 2021

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Another day, another leak from the ongoing legal battle between Apple and Epic. While past leaks have revealed more damning information, like Sony’s reasoning for not wanting crossplay on PS4 (it was because of money), that Epic had to pay to make crossplay happen, or what Epic paid to get exclusives on Epic Games Store, the latest reveal, this time from Nintendo, is more funny than anything else.

The leak involves Nintendo’s publisher contract, which includes information on Nintendo’s content licenses and distribution agreements. While almost all of the 25 page document is redacted, one part remains visible. The section in question forces Nintendo’s partners to give confirm that neither they or their employees are “Anti-Social Forces” or supplying those “forces” with money.

What are these “Anti-Social Forces,” you might wonder? Nintendo specifically uses the term “Boryokudan,” which is how Japanese law enforcement and media refer to organized crime syndicates, or Yakuza. Specific text in the contract was highlighted by former Kotaku editor-in-chief Stephen Totilo:

“‘Anti-Social Force’ means an organized crime group (‘Boryokudan’), a member of a Boryokudan (‘Boryokudanin’), a sub-member of a Boryokudan (‘Boryokudan jyunkoseiin’), a corporation related to a Boryokudan (‘Boryokudan kanren gaisha’), a racketeer attempting to extort money from a company by threatening to cause trouble at the general stockholders’ meeting (‘Soukaiya’) or acting as if advocating legitimate social causes (‘Shakai undou nado hyoubou goro’), or a special intelligence organized crime group (‘Tokusyu chinou boryoku syudan’), or other group or person equivalent to any of the foregoing.”

Publishers are developers are also forbidden from making “violent demands,” using “threat or violence in connection with transactions,” and “spreading false rumors, using fraud or force.” It’s a reasonable thing to have in a contract, of course, but you have to wonder what happened to make sure Nintendo had to include it.


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