So earlier last week, ATLUS announced that Persona 4 Arena, Arc System Works’ fighting game based off the RPG series Persona, will be region-locked for Playstation 3, something that’s nearly unheard of for PS3 games. While millions of fighting game fans were outraged over the decision to region-lock the game, the publisher of the game recently released a statement to explain the decision behind it due to the “force with which the community communicated their disapproval.”
“This is NOT the beginning of a new ATLUS policy, nor do we view it as a precedent or a slippery slope,” Atlus wrote in an official statement. “This is an isolated case, a situation precipitated by a number of factors, some of which are simply out of our North American hands. Moreover, and perhaps there is no way to convince our fans of this considering the magnitude of the betrayal many are feeling, but we are not doing this out of malice or a desire to control.”
At the heart of the issues, Atlus says, is that both the North American and Japanese versions of Persona 4 Arena are identical in content, but released at two “radically different” price points. The North American version will retail for $59.99, while the Japanese release will be priced at 7329 yen.
With the current strength of the Japanese yen high against the U.S. dollar, importers could purchase a North American copy for bargain prices – about 4800 yen.
“Importing, as great as it is for gamers who otherwise can’t get access to a title, can also cannibalize the performance of a title in one territory to the benefit of another,” Atlus says. “While we’re all one big ATLUS family, the reality is that the dramatic difference between the Yen and the Dollar makes for a dramatic difference in price. So the decision was made, perhaps at the expense of some of our fans, clearly at the frustration of many, to region-lock Persona 4 Arena.”
Honestly, the reasoning is understandable, however I see this as the beginning of a trend in fighting games altogether. Because if Persona 4 Arena does well in sales, then other producers won’t hesitate to do the same as well.
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