Capcom is joining forces with police in Japan to use Street Fighter as a recruitment tool. The company is partnering with Osaka Prefectural Police in this new effort.
According to the press release, the campaign is being undertaken as Japan attempts to boost “awareness of and the number of investigators specializing in cyber-crime.” According to Capcom, the Street Fighter brand was chosen because of the series’ “powerful image, its popularity among a broad range of age groups, and the affinity that esports has with cyberspace”.
This campaign will primarily be done in print, with thousands of posters featuring fighting game characters being plastered all over police stations, police boxes and train stations throughout the Osaka Prefecture. You can see one such poster down below.
The usage of video games for police and military recruitment is a fairly common practice around the globe. The US military spent tons of time and money to develop games like America’s Army, essentially a recruiting tool disguised as a video game. Then there’s the millions of dollars spent on advertising and branding to blend gaming and nationalist zeal into slick marketing campaigns aimed at young gamers.
Of course the ethics of military and police actions are relevant here, as are the ethics of recruitment practices. Anyone paying attention to history can see the endless atrocities committed in the name of war and nationalism. And if you’re paying attention to the methods recruiters use, they often target poorer and underprivileged areas, and by teasing the prospect of opportunity, millions have been pulled into military service and the like with these various tactics. So all in all, people have pretty mixed feelings about the whole process.
So the odds of deals like this appearing in Japan in the future will of course depend on how successful this new effort is.