As a matter of fact, they apologized profusely. You see, about two weeks ago, an announcement was made regarding the upcoming fighting game, Persona 4 Arena. The publisher, Atlus, announced that it would be region-locked for the PS3. That meant the game would only run on the systems with the same region code. Games sold in Japan would only work on Japanese PS3s. Games sold in America would only work on American PS3s. This effectively squashed any hope of importing the game. It was also the first time in the PS3’s lifespan that a game was region-locked. It caused an uproar from gamers. The question is: was the uproar warranted; or is it just another case of gamers feeling entitled?
From a gamer’s perspective, I could see how bad region-locking Persona 4 Arena would look. A lot of gamers like to import games, whether it’s to get the game earlier, or get a game that isn’t sold in their particular region. The Persona series has become huge among gamers, especially RPG fans. I’m sure most fans took this as a slap in the face. Then there the issue of whether or not Atlus has set a dangerous precedent by doing this. How many other companies will follow suit? There’s a fear that this will end up being the case for all future Atlus games, regardless of their claims that it’s a one-time deal.
Shortly after the announcement that P4A would be region-locked for the PS3, Atlus released a statement apologizing and giving the reasons why P4A would be region-locked. The game is going to be the exact same in North America and Japan. There are going to be both English and Japanese voices. The only difference is the timing of the release. P4A will be out in Japan sooner, but by only about two weeks. Their main reason for blocking import copies is straight economics. Currently, $1 USD equals about ¥79 JPY. The game is going to sell for $59.99 in the US and ¥7329 in Japan-which converts to just under $93 USD. That a $33 dollar difference, which over, say 1 million copies, would net a very large loss for Atlus. Strictly from a business standpoint, this is sensible.
Is it worth it though? Well, considering BioWare has somewhat put themselves back in gamers’ good graces, there needs to be another issue to complain about. Like I said, this is purely a business decision, one any of us would make in the same situation. Atlus has promised and reassured and swore up and down that it will not be a trend for them. I believe they will keep their word. Atlus has been one of the few companies that makes games for gamers.
I understand the problem if there was something exclusive about one version of P4A over the other. However, both versions are the same. The wait is just two weeks longer. Usually, we have to wait months for a game to make its way overseas. Also, it’ll be cheaper here if my math is correct. Therefore, American gamers have no real reason to get upset. People also fail to realize that most games are region-locked for the other two consoles. Honestly, I think we should consider ourselves lucky that we get to play the Persona series of games.
So, Atlus went and locked up P4A tighter than a maiden’s chastity belt. It’s not the end of the world. P4A will be here in four more Tuesdays. And if you’re mad because you can’t import it, you shouldn’t be. You’re going to save money. Money that can spent on Persona 4: The Golden when it comes out. If we want to max out our Social Link with Atlus, we need to be nice to them. They’re one of the few companies out there that knows their bread is buttered by us gamers.
-The 4th Wall is an imaginary barrier that separates a particular medium from its audience. It is also a weekly column on Vagary.tv born from the Just In Bailey column, written by Joey Alesia. Each week, Joey looks at video games and the industry as a whole and works to break the 4th Wall armed with over 25 years of gaming knowledge and a twisted sense of humor. Be sure to follow Joey on Twitter (@wrkngclsswrtr) or email him at Joey.Alesia@Vagary.tv.