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Restricting game streaming is pointless

Restricting game streaming is pointless

Restricting game streaming is pointless
May 02
18:23 2020

“Persona 5 Royal,” the update to the JRPG story of the phantom thieves who rebel against societal corruption while seeking freedom, has ironically been put under streaming restrictions by the developer Atlus. Atlus’ restrictions are remnant of anti-streaming attitude game companies used to have before realizing their immense benefits.

So why is Atlus implementing these policies? Well, they’ve been “enforcing” these policies since the release of the original “Persona 5″ back in 2016-2017. Like I mentioned before, “Persona 5″ is a massive 90-hour JRPG, one of my favorites of all time in fact and one of its main appeals is the story. According to Atlus, this was to combat spoilers online that could ruin the story for new players. This is an understandable desire, especially considering Atlus releases the game first in Japan before the rest of the world. However, the restrictions they set were incredibly strict and intrusive. No videos longer than 90 minutes, no showing footage of boss fights and other things. Breaking these rules would result in Atlus attempting to claim your videos. Unsurprisingly, these rules were met with harsh backlash by fans.

Now as the “Persona 5″ franchise gains more installments, Atlus still insists on streaming restrictions. The current Japan-only game “Persona 5 Scramble and the new “Persona 5 Royal,” an enhanced version of the original “Persona 5,” each received similar restrictions placed on streaming. Both require you to only post video through console media-sharing features, so no personal capture devices. They also demand you tag your videos with the company copyrights for the game. 

The idea that you aren’t allowed to use your own capture device for recording is ridiculous, and while the copyright tags aren’t as intrusive, it still feels like a demand a game company would make a decade ago. Online playthroughs and streams of games used to be a sign of evil to video game companies. They, for some reason, saw it as an infringement of copyright and fought with content creators over monetization, despite the influencers just wanting credit for their videos and their work, not the game itself. Finally, game developers woke up one day and realized this was essentially free advertising. Game companies finally saw the massive benefits they received from streamers and their audiences.

Now, you can see companies and developers reaching out to influencers all the time. Early review copies of games get sent out to creators all the time now for traditional reviews. Square Enix allows content creators to sign up for a partner program that gets them access to these review copies. Even Nintendo, who’s notorious for being behind on the times when it comes to the internet, completely abolished their downright tyrannical streaming restrictions back in 2018. These days, Atlus’s insistence of any streaming restrictions is the outlier, not the standard.

It’s not like Atlus doesn’t realize the benefits of content creators either. They still send out review copies and they even do sponsorship’s with influencers to promote their games, like with JelloApocalypse. Trying to enforce streaming restrictions for your game is actively trying to undermine your efforts to sell it, assuming you can even enforce them. With the humongous output of online videos every day, attempting to restrict them is physically impossible.

Even if the point of these restrictions is to protect players from spoilers, many people are capable of protecting themselves and there are plenty of other ways to go about it. Marking a video as a “spoiler”, which is one of Atlus’s requests, is a perfectly acceptable and non-restricting request. But all of the additional requirements push people to not want to stream the game out of fear of retaliation from Atlus.

These restrictions have not been and cannot be enforced, and are pushing away what is essentially free advertising for Atlus. It is not Atlus’ place to tell people how they get to enjoy their games and the only thing Atlus receives from these restrictions are backlash and negative press. Restrictions like these are not only a huge insult to fans but are the equivalent to Atlus shooting themselves in the foot.

Featured Illustration: Jae-Eun Suh

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Matthew Payne

Matthew Payne

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