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Square Enix fan arrested over arson threat against company

Square Enix E3

Last Friday, a 40-year-old man was arrested after threatening an arson attack upon Square Enix, provoked by frustration with one of the publisher’s mobile games (translation via Siliconera).

Kenichi Hiratsuka, a Japanese man who apparently played Square Enix mobile titles consistently, was upset over money having been spent on the game, and decided to e-mail threats to the publisher. These included references to the now infamous Kyoto Animation arson attack, which killed 35 people last month. The threats made included, “Give me back my money from your sh*t game,” “Do you want a repeat of Kyoto Animation?”

Whether the man would have gone through with such threats is not known, as is whether other factors had an influence on his decision to send the threats. A history of violence or other concerning behavior has not currently been disclosed. It’s no doubt concerning that these threats and attacks appear to be accelerating in their pace.

This is the second time something like this has occurred in recent memory, the first was when a 25 year-old man made similar threats over having spent 200,000 yen on a gache game published by Square Enix. That incident in March was over just £1,500.

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This will no doubt fuel further speculation and discussion about the role of “gacha” gambling mechanics, as well as loot boxes, in modern gaming. And it certainly will intensify the reactionary panic over video games influencing violence. The same one currently being used to push actual substantive change further away by scapegoating games.


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