Atlus addresses Persona 4 Arena PS3 region lock
posted on 07.06.12 at 09:03 PM EDT by (@salromano)
Support Atlus, buy Persona 4 Arena in your own region.

Atlus has released a statement regarding recent news that Persona 4 Arena, due for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on July 26 in Japan, August 7 in North America, and later this year in Europe, is region-locked on PlayStation 3.

(Note: I did receive a few e-mails about this, and didn’t think it was important to address considering the game is launching in all three major territories, but apparently the Atlus fan base has proved me wrong. For that, I apologize.)

Find the full statement below.

Friends of ATLUS,

The last week brought with it news that Persona°4 Arena™ would effectively become the first PlayStation°3 system game to be region-locked. We can today confirm that this is true; the game will be region-locked in all its respective territories of release.

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. Those who fear this is a slippery slope, the beginning of a dangerous and unnecessary precedent. Those who import foreign hardware for a multitude of reasons and expect to be unlimited in their software selection. Those who aren’t necessarily affected by this issue, but who are principally opposed to it. We are not blind to these concerns and we pledge to grow ever more informed as to exactly what our fans want. It should be added that we were completely unprepared for the force with which the community communicated their disapproval.

There are, however, a few points to clarify. This is NOT the beginning of a new ATLUS policy, nor do we view it as a precedent or a slippery slope. If anything, your determination and dedication to what you believe in has certainly stood in the face of 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. 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. Allow us to explain.

Persona 4 Arena achieves a number of triumphs for our North American publishing house. 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 for our North American fans. Moreover, our North American community is often forced to wait months for a localized release (a plight our friends across the Atlantic can relate to). Again, with P4 Arena, we’re able to release within two weeks of Japan. We pushed hard for these things. We know our fans want them–well really, EXPECT them–and we did our best to get as much for our release as possible.

The unforeseen consequence in all of this was that we had a version of our biggest game of the year releasing within a couple weeks in two territories, both identical in content, but at radically different price points. 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. 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.

For many of you, there is no explanation that resonates, no justification that atones for this fact. We can only endeavor to earn back your confidence and, to learn from your arguments. We absolutely recognize the fear that this is the beginning of a trend. We in no way view it as such. Please also keep in mind that the game’s excellent online multiplayer is global, a fact that is in no way affected by the region-lock. Players can compete against fighters from all territories.

A tremendous team of talented developers and artists poured their blood, sweat, and tears into Persona 4 Arena, and every reaction we’ve ever received to the game has shown that those efforts are readily apparent. The decision to region-lock P4 Arena was a business one, one that has very clearly affected how many perceive the project, but we ask you to please not overlook the exceptional efforts of the people behind the game and to work with us through constructive dialogue.

Thank you.

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  • xMCXx

    At least they explain it, so I understand where they’re coming from.

  • Kougeru

    Very well written letter that clearly addresses the issue with no BS at all. I love Atlus.

    • Anime101210

      True, Atlus gets an A++ in the consumer relations department. I mean they really didnt have to explain their actions, but the way they did it, it sounds sincere and believable.

  • DarthBrian

    So does that mean the reason why we couldn’t have dual-language option
    on Catherine was so that it wouldn’t be region-locked?

    Because I’d rather have it region-locked than not have the dual-language option. :p

  • DarthBrian

    I was led to believe that ‘reverse importing’ was not sufficient reason to region-lock titles on PS3. I guess that’s wrong.

  • Revorse

    I still don’t see the point of importing the game when it’s the same everywhere. But maybe some people have their reasons.

    • whiteferrero

      well for one, region 3 sucks. (where i am) some games, for example Valkyria Chronicles don’t have DLC released for that area. And for whatver reason, they assume the rest of the region speaks chinese. I’m like wtf I can’t even browse the PS store.
      Which is why this is a bit of a downer for me. I wish I made a region 1 account but all my trophies are in this account and I don’t want to lose them.
      (Though since this is ATLUS I have complete faith that if ever this game is getting DLC, it will have Region 3 release)

      • Kobracon

        You can make a region 1 account just for the purpose of buying stuff since Region 1 DLC is compatible with Region 3 DLC. I’m in the same boat as you. Region 3 PSN store is slow and horrible (still no Skullgirls -_-)

        • whiteferrero

          Yup I did! I buy off the R1 store, and use it for my R1 games :D

  • So will it have Asian version or region 3?

  • Zuhri69

    I’ve mentioned this before, my PS3 is R3 and Atlus has never release an english game at R3. (Please correct me otherwise). Can you promise me that I can play the game and still understand whatever the hell is going on? I respect your decision but can I really play your game now or would you now Isolate those with the same case as mine. I really hoped this is just my paranoia.

  • DarthBrian

    Hmmmmmmm…I guess this could be why FFXIII and FFXIII-2 didn’t include a dual-language track. The JPN and NA/EU releases were only a month apart for FFXIII-2. But maybe if they included it and region-locked it we could have had that? If so, I would be absolutely fine with region-locking. Dual-language audio is way more important than being region-free. Would’ve saved me money too. Then I wouldn’t have had to buy the Japan, NA, and Asia releases of FFXIII. :p

    Same goes for Catherine by the way. Atlus USA, if you’re reading this, if you put out a new version of Catherine that’s dual-language and region-locked, I will buy it at a high price. Thanks. :p

    • milramyah

      I’m pretty sure that had something to do with Square Enix trying to keep the Xbox 360 disc count low.

      • DarthBrian

        Shouldn’t have been an issue. They could’ve put them on the PS3 version and then offered them as free DLC on 360 like Ubisoft did for Naruto: Rise of a Ninja.

  • Hinano

    Nice that they responded, but really unnecessary. I thought it was quite obvious this wasn’t going to be a trend for them. Just clear compromises and stuff that’s not in there hand to decide.

  • RyougaZell

    I applaud Atlus for addressing this matter. And their justification is very valid as well. Persona 4 Arena goes at 7329 yen (according to Amazon) which equals about 92 dollar. P4 Arena in America will go at 60 dollar. You could easily wait a few weeks and import the American release to have it cheaper and with another language (for those that may care for an english track over there). Region free would have damaged Japanese sales.

  • Zero

    Was there really a bunch of gamers in Japan who planned to import? I guess I shouldn’t be surprised if it happens quite often.

    I wonder if they posted on 2 chan or something about it and Atlus got wind of the idea? They want to make a profit, so I can understand why they did it.

    Thanks for explaining it to us, Atlus.

  • NCloud

    The game is already out in the Japanese arcades, so most
    Japanese fans who wanted to play it have already played (arcades are HUGE in japan). If this was a major Persona title (say P5), with no arcade release, then yes I would agree. The EU version is still TBA and I wonder if Asian countries will ever see the title.

    • FaithlessMr

      The game was already picked up by an european publisher (can’t recall their name right now :x) so we’re still getting it here, I just don’w know exactly when.

      • DarthBrian

        Zen United is the EU publisher.

        • FaithlessMr

          Thanks, I could not remember the name of the publisher for the life of me :x

  • rockman29

    I don’t import games, so I have no idea what’s going on here, but good on them for coming clean. Never gonna see Acti or anyone talk real talk like that ever.

  • PrinceHeir

    acceptable, still doesn’t change the fact that it’s a bad move from them.

    not to mention why hide it near the release??? it was only been discovered by a forum member so why even hide it late in the game??

    still already pre ordered it and had my copy secured and ready to go.

    i just hope companies won’t start a sudden release of region lock games.

    and that’s why i love PS3, PSP, and DS. region free is fucking awesome and should stay forever.

    also if the price is the issue, why can’t they just lower the price??

    sure we live in a terrible economy time but the prices is just ridiculous especially in japan and australia.

    not to mention usually a game get’s discounted around 25% after the first 2-3 months or sometimes in one month.

    remember FFXIII?? that game price drop after 1 month and as low as $20
    in japan

    then again it’s more of a fan reaction though.

    i don’t hate atlus or anything, im just worried that this might start companies into locking games.

    i mean remember the 3DS?? the DS was region free and alot of gamers can enjoy all games in any region, then all of a sudden it was taken away in 3DS.

    i do respect them for issuing a statement though so there’s that.

    “your fans have asked us to include dual language audio in our games.”

    please do, even of they region lock games as long as we have this it’s cool.

    i think there are 3 reasons as to why importers are importing games:

    1. they never EVER released the game in their own region(which is pretty much 95% the reason why we imported in the first place)

    2. they released it soo late in the game that alot of people have lost interest and move on. sure the nice bonus things like the reversible Katherine Cover for PS3 and vice versa are awesome, but is it worth the 1 year late??

    3. the prices, i think it’s time companies re-evaluate prices. it should be cheaper not higher every generation.

  • mdemolish

    Persona 4 Sure Gonna best RPG

  • Kobracon

    You earn more respect points from me, Atlus for giving us an understandable reason. If this leads the way to more, if not all, J games getting dual audio, then hell yes. Just make sure to release the game in all 3 regions ._.

  • RyougaZell

    Catherine wasnt released simultaneously

  • Locksus

    If you haven’t bought it yet, go and do so ASAP :p it’s one of the most interesting and different games around plus it’s beautiful and has an interesting story.

    The lack of dual-language option doesn’t bother me as the English voice acting is done really well.

    • DarthBrian

      Sorry, can’t. Principles and all that. This is not a game I want to play with English voices. And from what I’ve heard of the English voices, they will annoy the crap out of me. Laura Bailey is hit-and-miss with me and she’s very much a miss for me in this and I hate Troy Baker with a passion. Well, at least when he’s doing his own terrible annoying voice. When he’s actually doing a voice like Two-Face in Arkham City, he’s usually pretty good. It’s that damn annoying normal voice of his that annoys the crap out of me. He uses it with Vincent and he uses it with Snow and he seems to be using it in The Last Of Us, which is going to drive me nuts, but it is the original language track for that game so I’m gonna have to deal with it. *shrug*

      Atlus screwed the pooch on that one and they’re not getting a dime from me. They didn’t even explain why. It’s like “we just couldn’t make it happen for this game” and “it’s set in a distinctly American city with distinctly American characters”. None of that rings true to me. It’s corporate double-speak to explain what they contractually cannot. All they have to do is say “Atlus Japan won’t let us because of this reason or the other”. I suspect it might be because dual-audio won’t fit on the 360 disc, but that’s not a good excuse either. They could provide the Japanese audio as free DLC like Ubisoft did for Naruto: Rise of a Ninja. They even replied on the PSBlog by saying “while we recognize the numerous comments from folks adamant that it’s Japanese or nothing for them, we can’t help but feel like those gamers are going to miss out on what is, in our view, one of our best localizations to date, and a fantastic English dub to boot.” What a dumb thing to say. The people who want a Japanese language track aren’t interested in hearing your supposed best localization to date. Why is that a selling point to them?

      Sorry. Again, I’d love to play this. I was looking forward to it for a long time. But if Atlus doesn’t want to give me the features I want, then they’re not getting a dime from me.

      • Locksus

        Gah too bad then :( I do understand your point, though, one I respect as you wrote your opinion clearly!

        I actually bought the 360 version and if I remember right, the install size wasn’t that big so the Japanese audio could’ve been on the 360 version also but alas, it is not.
        Nevertheless it’s a great game, one that I recommend to all anime/puzzle/Atlus fans.