Sonic creator Yuji Naka sentenced to two and a half years in prison

Naka pleaded guilty to insider trading in March

Sonic creator Yuji Naka sentenced to two and a half years in prison

Sonic creator Yuji Naka has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison, as well as two separate fines of ¥2.5 million ($18 thousand) and ¥17 million ($1.2 million), according to

Naka was first arrested in November under suspicion for insider trading, and pleaded guilty in March. He was believed to have purchased stock in two developers who had landed contracts to make unannounced games based on lucrative IP with the hopes of selling the stock at a later date after prices had increased. One of these developers, ATeam Entertainment, later released FInal Fantasy VII: The First Soldier, a mobile spinoff of the bestselling Final Fantasy series.

He was arrested for a second time for a separate insider trading case regarding mobile title Dragon Quest Tact, having purchased 10,000 shares in developer Aiming. At the time of his crimes, Naka was an employee of Japanese gaming giant Square Enix, which co-developed both games.

Dragon Quest 11 middleware manager Taisuke Sasaki was also arrested in both cases, while Dragon Quest 10’s event manager Mumiaki Suzuki was arrested during the latter case.

Crimes and consequences

Naka’s defence team is seeking a suspended sentence, which would see Naka avoid prison on the condition that he doesn’t reoffend and complies with any restrictions imposed on the court, as well as a reduction in the fines, arguing that Naka “did not actively browse insider information.” However, the prosecution has stated that he “gained unfair profits from a significantly more advantageous position than general investors, and undermined the fairness of the market.”

At the time of sentencing, Naka said, “There is no doubt that I knew the facts about the game[s] before it was made public and bought the stock,” reports The Gamer.

Earlier this year, Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier was shuttered, having failed to meet Square Enix's expectations.


Staff Writer

Lewis Rees is a journalist, author, and escape room enthusiast based in South Wales. He got his degree in Film and Video from the University of Glamorgan. He's been a gamer all his life.