Take a good gander at the above image, because it’s one of the few legitimate images of Yakuza 0’s campaign that can be shared on the PS4.

The SHARE button is a useful little oddity for the PS4. It allows you to take screenshots or videos of your gameplay that you can upload, or start a live stream to show the people of the world just how good or bad you are.

But some developers don’t want to have all the content of their games out there – especially when it comes to story elements and spoilers that could lessen a person’s experience of a game. The PS4 and PS Vita take this into account by allowing developers to specify certain portions of their games as blocked, essentially suspending the SHARE or capture function, or showing a blank blue screen in the player’s live stream until the player exits the blocked location or scene.

Some games use it sparingly, like Dragon Ball Xenoverse, which seemed to wag its metaphysical finger at me menacingly every time any sort of imagery that would hint at the game’s last boss popped on screen.

And then there’s Yakuza 0.

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Starting up Yakuza 0, you’re treated to a splash of a young Kazuma Kiryu, and then game’s standard Japanese legal text pops up saying not to distribute without authorization and such. It’s at this point that a popup appears in the upper left corner of the screen, saying “Gameplay recording paused because you entered a blocked scene.”

Once you get past the intro cinematic and hit the title screen at the top of this article, you get another message saying that recording has resumed and you are free to take video or screenshots. Of course, once you actually start the game’s campaign, you get the “recording paused” message again and the SHARE button becomes a useless accessory until you exit from the campaign.

There are areas of Yakuza 0 other than the title screen that can be captured using the SHARE button, but these consist of side minigames, and pretty much all of the bulk of the game remains locked away while you are playing.

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One can understand how the developers would like to protect the experience of a game that is so story-heavy, but the blanket blackout of the game seems a little excessive.

Evidently other people share the sentiment and took to Japan’s primary internet billboard, 2ch, to vent.

“I understand that they wanted to prevent streaming, but such a blanket blocking makes me think that they were just lazy. And I was enjoying watching other people’s gameplay during my breaks from playing.” one person remarked.

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“Everyone streaming has blue screen. LOL. Don’t they know it’s restricted?” laughed another.

“Almost everything is restricted and I can’t see the streams, but was it necessary to restrict this much? Couldn’t they have just stuck to the movie portions?” one player lamented.

This isn’t the first time Sega has done this. Yakuza Ishin, which was a launch title for the PS4, is completely restricted save for the game’s arena and a mode that is only unlocked after clearing the main game.

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Granted, there are ways around this block. People can still use a computer to capture images from a PS4, but seeing video and gameplay screenshots from users basically singles them out as people who circumvented the PS4’s restrictions against Sega’s wishes.

As much as I can empathize with the developers’ wishes to either protect their content from unauthorized distribution, or to prevent spoilers from potentially ruining the experience of other gamers, preventing capturing of even basic player-controlled gameplay like walking down a street seems counter to the modern let’s-play-driven gaming age we live in.

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Yakuza 0 is currently available in Japan, with no word on an international release. It’s also a great game—I just wish I had the visuals to prove it.


Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

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To contact the author of this post, write to cogitoergonihilATgmail.com or find him on Twitter @tnakamura8.