Last week ATLUS confirmed that Persona 4 Arena would be the first Playstation 3 region-locked game since the console joined the console war in 2006. Video game consoles are region-locked to prevent players purchasing, and playing, games from other countries. The Playstation 3 is region-free but publishers can region-lock their games. You can imagine the response ATLUS received from their fans: Anger and disapproval.
So ATLUS responded to the fans with a reassuring and apologetic message.
ATLUS are aware of the benefits of region-free purchases: “As we’ve ascertained from your impassioned responses online, this is obviously a tremendous frustration for many fans. We understand the various perspectives on the matter… We are not blind to these concerns and we pledge to grow ever more informed as to exactly what our fans want.”
ATLUS guarantee that “This is NOT the beginning of a new ATLUS policy, nor do we view it as a precedent or a slippery slope” and reassure the fans that “This is an isolated case, a situation precipitated by a number of factors, some of which are simply out of our North American hands.”
ATLUS go on to explain that this decision hasn’t been done to alienate their fans, and that they have tried triumphantly to please North American audiences. One such example is as follows: “For years, our fans have asked us to include dual language audio in our games. Finally, with P4 Arena, we were able to deliver on that desire and include the exact same content as the Japanese release”.
In a cruel twist of fate the expectations that ATLUS have lived up to is the same reason Persona 4 Arena has been region-locked. “The unforeseen consequence in all of this was that we had a version of our biggest game of the year releasing within a couple of weeks in two territories, both identical in content, but at radically different price points.” Due to the different price tags the country selling the version at the cheapest price has the potential to “cannibalize the performance of a title in one territory to the benefit of another”.
So basically, ATLUS have had to region-lock Persona Arena 4 in its respected territories to prevent the entire globe purchasing all the copies from the country selling it the cheapest.
The message continues to the end with more apologetic reassurances, such as the multiplayer mode has not been affected in any way by the region-lock, so North American gamers can still combat their British opponents, and vice versa. ATLUS are also intent on winning back their fans’ appreciation, especially of those they have lost. So that’s one positive from all the negatives.