So, Persona 4: Arena is region-locked (WTF?)


So, Atlus announced that Persona 4: Arena, a spectacular-looking 2D fighter starring the cast from Shin Megami Tensei Persona 4, will be region-locked.

This… defies logic. Especially given the PS3 has consistently featured its region-free status as a selling point for the console, and is an enormous benefit of owning the console.

But this. Really?

No, really?

To their credit, Atlus sent out a press release stating why it has happened. While I appreciate the honesty in such a response, all it’s done if confirm that the region-locking has been done for the purpose of supporting a price-fixing policy.

… again, really?

Last I checked, the PS3’s region-free nature hasn’t affected sales. Last I checked, I had more PS3 titles than any of my other current generation consoles. This is because the title wasn’t slated to be released in PAL regions (Catherine), the title was superior in another region (Final Fantasy 13, Asian version – Japanese voices, English text), or the price was half the cost of the import locally vs overseas (VF5 set me back AU$100 locally when I bought it in 2007).

So, to enforce a protectionist market, the game is being locked. This not only affects US gamers wanting to pay the premium for the Japanese copy, but also affects all PAL gamers who want to grab the game because they don’t want to wait an unnecessary amount of time to see if it’ll get picked up locally (if at all) or who don’t want to pay an extortionate price for the game (RRP on most AU games is AU$99, nearly double the game’s US RRP).

It’s a shame because niche publishers like Atlus and NIS rely on their passionate fanbase to fuel the sales due to the nature of the titles they bring over, and this is a substantial misstep.

Still, if you’re going to slap the market in the face, don’t be surprised if they get angry.

I for one won’t be buying the game in the immediate future. Once I get over myself and step down from my soapbox, I might reconsider and add it to the collection. Will I really matter in the grand scheme of things? Probably not. But it’s a principle I feel very strongly about (and have discussed previously), and my principles tend to affect my spending habits.

To bring across a currency of thought, I haven’t bought a Capcom game in a while because I’m offended by their awful DLC practices (such as SFxT featuring another ~15 characters on the disc, but locking all of them up under paid-for DLC). Again, I’m not sure if I’m making much of a dent (especially given how many Capcom titles I’ve bought this generation before the SFxT fiasco), but it’s about as much as I can do to emphasise that I love games, but abhor business practices designed to make cheap grabs for my cash. The collective voice of protest only seems to be listened to when it affects the bottom-line, so if that’s the only way I can express myself, then so be it.


  • Ji-L87 says:

    Region-locking is a thing of evil and a horrible practice from the past. Such actions can’t easily be forgiven!
    I’m glad I’m not hugely into the Persona-games, because I would be pretty upset right about now. Tho’ it seems the NA version also gets the option to have the japanese voices and that’s a good thing.
    Now with THAT said…what about Europe?

  • Don’t get off the Soapbox there Sean, and make sure you stick to those guns! It’s one of the only ways that consumers can strike back legitimately.

    I believe that the average consumer may be in a position to fight back with a greater hunger in the future (what with the backing of Indy development, open-source consoles, kickstarters etc.), but not buying, not paying for sub-par DLC, and making it public the reasons why is all we have at this present time.

    Screw ’em!!

  • Thanks for the feedback guys! Always nice to hear others out there are getting pissed at being treated like a criminal and forced into a price-fixed situation.

    Mind, the latest over here in Australia is that the government is seriously floating the concept of recording everyone’s digital movements (Internet browsing history, text messages, calls, etc) for two years just in case we do something illegal. No court orders or anything, just everything, without any cause and no indication of how tightly secured the information storage will be. Big Brother much?

  • I read about that recently (the recording of internet history in Aus), and it’s a serious worry. Again these sort of “preventative measures” will only push the hardcore criminals (child exploitation etc.) to the point where they hide their tracks more effectively. Stupid nanny state mentality….

  • Yeah, it’s pretty scary and really should be getting wider criticism in the broader community. Unfortunately, the Coalition is in favour which means there won’t be the usual dogmatic anti-Labor stance the has typified the opposition.