This week Atlus announced that 2D fighter, Persona 4: Arena would be region locked on PlayStation 3, making it the first title since the console released in 2006.
This sparked outrage, in particular from devoted European fans who intended to import the game. Due to Atlus lacking a publishing front in Europe, it may take a while for a game to reach retail, if they manage it at all.
Atlus have released a statement, explaining the reasoning behind their actions and asserting the fact that this will not become standard practise for the publisher. Atlus believe that the weak state of the dollar in comparison to the Japanese Yen could lead to “mass importing” that would “cannibalize the performance of a title in one territory to the benefit of the other.”
At the current exchange rates, by importing the title from America it would save Japanese customers around 35%. This of course does not take into account shipping or import taxes.
“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,” “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.”
Whilst it certainly isn’t endgame for Atlus, they hold high esteem with their fans and have dealt with the matter in the best manner possible. However the possible ramifications of this becoming normality could result in the PlayStation 3 losing one of its key advantages and leaving importers of foreign titles disappointed.