The Yakuza spin-off series being put together by SEGA and Ryu Ga Gotoku studio was recently embroiled in some controversy after one of its voice actors was caught up in allegations of drug possession. The Judgment drug scandal resulted in the game being pulled from sales in Japan, but now it appears that the title has also become a collector's item in the wake of those events.
Pierre Taki, one of the voice actors in Judgment and previously known as the Japanese voice of Frozen, was arrested last week. This prompted SEGA to stop selling the title in all forms in Japan while the investigation around Taki was ongoing. While there has been no news from the company about whether or not sales of the title are going to resume any time soon, or whether sales in the West will be affected, the speculation has clearly had an impact on the demand for the title in Japan.
Kotaku has reported that the controversy of the Judgment drug scandal has now resulted in the price of the game being increased in Japan. There are used copies of the game selling for as much as 45,000 yen (USD $400), which is definitely a marked increase from the PlayStation exclusive's original price of 8,953 yen (USD $80). These copies have steadily increased in price ever since the original announcement from SEGA about sales of Judgment being halted, and now it looks like a number of online retailers have been pricing their products (including unopened copies) at well over the USD $100 range.
It appears to be a simple matter of supply and demand in operation here. The game has been out for a few months in Japan already. Unfortunately, the fact that the Judgment drug scandal has made acquiring copies of the game impossible from here on until an unspecified date thanks to SEGA's lack of communication, it appears to have been upgraded to must-buy status for fans who may have been previously on the fence.
While consumers in the West wait for some clarity whether or not the title's anticipated release is going to be majorly affected by the run-on effects of Taki's arrest, the good news is that it's unlikely that we're going to see a similar price hike considering Sony's approach to regional pricing.