Persona 4 Arena is region-locked and Atlus explains why

July 7, 2012 - 2:00 am No Comments

Persona 4 Arena is region-locked and Atlus explains why

If you felt a shift in the force earlier today, there’s a good reason. Atlus announced that its forthcoming fighter with Arc System Works, Persona 4 Arena, is a region-locked game. For Xbox 360 owners, this is no big deal as almost all Xbox 360 gamers are region-locked. This is a huge deal for PS3 owners as it means this will be the first region-locked PS3 game ever.

All PS3 games up until now have been region-free and the system itself is region-free. This meant people could get a system from any country, like one of those ornate PS3s that are Japan-exclusives. It also meant people from any country could import and play any game, which is important since there are many games that don’t get released outside of Japan.

Atlus is challenging the status quo. The Japanese version of Persona 4 Arena will only work on Japanese PS3s, the North American version on North American systems and so on. Which means that importing an early copy from Japan is impossible.

Personally, I think it’s ridiculous, considering the versions are all identical aside from the region-lock. Even the servers are global, meaning you’ll face people from around the world no matter which version you own.

You’re probably wondering why Atlus did this. It’s all about the money. Persona 4 Arena is being released at different price points in Japan, North America and Europe. There’s a big difference in prices. People in Europe would import from North America because it’d be cheaper for them. People in Japan and Asia may even wait and import the North American version because it’d be much cheaper for them. The game comes out July 26, 2012 in Japan, August 7, 2012 in North America and August 31, 2012 in Europe.

While Atlus’ statement on the region-locking has said this won’t be the start of a trend, I think it very well could be. It’s disappointing to see a smaller publisher, especially one that has Japan-only exclusives, supporting region-locking. Let’s hope the company keeps its word and doesn’t region-lock any of its future games.

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