Sega has released its annual integrated report for 2020, including the lifetime sales of its game series, and the Yakuza series has cracked 14 million copies sold across all titles. Compared to its series total sales stats of 11 million total copies from 2018, the year that Yakuza 6 released in the west, and 12 million in 2019. This means that over 20% of Yakuza’s lifetime sales have come from the last two years, entirely out of proportion to the series’ 15-year lifetime, though not out of proportion to the number of games released. It’s a big turnaround for a series that was widely considered to be declining in popularity relative to the growth of the industry.
Sega credits the turnaround to the game’s niche appeal and dedication to portraying Japanese culture. Its depiction of culture, specifically, was previously considered too niche to thrive with Western audiences, but has recently become a major selling point of the series. The annual integrated report specifically notes that Yakuza is “highly evaluated by overseas users,” as is the Persona series. It’s part of the larger spread of “Made in Japan” content by Sega finding a home in foreign countries.