In some circles, the story surrounding Persona 5's streaming regulations is a bigger one than the game's success. Despite the fact that Persona 5 sold 1.5 million copies globally after its western release, the game's developer, Atlus, has been the subject of a lot of controversy regarding the restrictions it placed on YouTube and Twitch content creators. Atlus previously restricted content creators to the in-game date of July 7, an absurdly early point in Persona 5's narrative that doesn't even see all the main characters introduced into the story yet. Today, however, Atlus announced that it had reconsidered its stance on Persona 5 streaming regulations, and that streamers would be able to record video all the way up until the end-game date of November 19, when the game begins to prepare players for its final act.
For those unfamiliar with the story, anyone who streamed beyond the original July 7 in-game date was officially warned by Atlus that they would face a potential channel strike or account suspension depending on their platform. Persona 5's draconian streaming rules quickly made headlines and upset a lot of big names in video game content creation, and that was apparently enough for Atlus to revisit the decision. The company released a statement accompanying the new change, stating:
"To our surprise, we then saw numerous reactive news articles go up...and received many emails asking us to change our Persona 5 streaming/video policy...we [have] heard your issues with the guidelines and have decided to revise them."
Although it's good news that Atlus decided to acquiesce to fan requests, the fact that the company was genuinely surprised over the backlash over their initial restrictions is a little worrying. Given the huge role Let's Play videos on YouTube and walkthrough streams on Twitch play in the perception of video games, it's bizarre a company as big as Atlus genuinely believed clamping down on content creators was a good idea.
Some fans weren't as upset over the restrictions as they were over the tone with which Atlus delivered them - many gamers and content creators felt legitimately threatened by a company they were attempting to support. To that end, Atlus made it clear that the threatening tone was also unintentional:
"We also want to apologize to those of you who saw the previous guidelines blog post as threatening...it was never our intention to threaten people with copyright strikes, but we clearly chose the wrong tone for how to communicate this."
While many will likely appreciate that Atlus is big enough to admit its mistakes, it might be a case of too little, too late. Persona 5's sales are already beginning to slow down, and it is possible the gaping hole in content coverage provided by the restrictions on YouTube and Twitch creators might have hurt Atlus more than it helped.
Persona 5 is available now on PS4 and PS3.