Persona 4 Arena Is Region-Locked Because The US Dollar Is Weak Against The Yen

Many did a double-take when Atlus confirmed Persona 4 Arena is region-locked on the PlayStation 3 -- that means, only Japanese consoles may play the Japanese version; US consoles can only play a US version. It's the first time since the PS3's release in 2006 a game has featured complete region-locking. (The Xbox 360 version also will be region-locked.)

Atlus released a statement last night, both explaining the decision and vowing that it is not going to become standard policy for the publisher.

In a nutshell, Atlus is worried that the dollar's weakness against the yen could lead to "mass importing" of Persona 4 Arena that would "cannibalise the performance of a title in one territory to the benefit of the other." At current exchange rates, the $US59.99 that Persona 4 Arena will cost in the United States comes to about ¥4,778; the game is ¥7,329 in Japan. So, without figuring in shipping costs, the North American version would effectively cost 35 per cent less than the Japanese.

It's likely Atlus also is concerned because the two versions release 12 days apart, with Japan's going first, on July 26. If it could be imported, that could damage Persona 4 Arena's release-week sales in Japan as cost-conscious gamers wait for a cheaper version to arrive on August 7.

"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," Atlus said.

"Importing, as great as it is for gamers who otherwise can't get access to a title, can also cannibalise the performance of a title in one territory to the benefit of another," the statement said. "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.

The statement concedes that the region-locking decision "has very clearly affected how many perceive the project, but we ask you to please not overlook the exceptional efforts of the people behind the game and to work with us through constructive dialogue."


Comments

    I have absolutely no sympathy for them. This is just due to greed, nothing more.

    Does they even think about amazon.jp's price? ¥ 5,947, and surely they need to think the shipping cost to send the game from America to Japan, which will probably make it JUST THE SAME with LATER hands-on. Japanese would rather wait for 2nd hand games, seriously.

    To sum it up, I believe Atlus' decision is either nonsense or it's just a cover, Atlus Japan maybe want to get more royalty money, and don't want to produce the game too much for the sake of importing. It's only my theory though.

      Do you live in Japan? I do and the Japanese treat second hand stuff like the plague. Ever wonder why 2nd hand games are so much cheaper than new ones in Japan?

        Do you really live in Japan? Because one look at Yahoo Auctions and you can see 2nd hand products are well demanded.

        Nope, I just have a friend there and I only travel there about 7 times in the past 3 years. 2nd hand games are like a plague because it's the works of those tokuten collectors, taking the bonus and reselling them again. Both on store and on YAJ. If there are people who wants to import from US for the reason of price difference, I think they'll take a look on the 2nd hand first

    It's unacceptable, there is no excuse.

    Games are *always* more expensive in Japan than in America. The only real difference here seems to be locality of the release date.
    Region locking is a horrible practice. Hopefully this is the first and also the *last* PS3 game ever to have it.

    Firstly.. i know what its like to want a game thats locked, cut in your region or delayed again and again, but i wanna throw some perspective out here, dudes, business is business. You guys know how much work and money goes into game development, as well as the importance of keeping people employed and businesses afloat, that of course they have every right to do this and make as much money as possible. Thats what makes their next game even more awesome in this one!
    So many fans and some gamers in general feel butthurt over a purely strategic hiher level decision, likely made after crunching some serious numbers.
    Calm down, move on, they have every right to do this, just like you have every right to buy a japanese PS3 to cater for your JP region game needs.

    Or is it the things to come.........

    I highly doubt it would "canabalise" anything. You might even lose sales by region locking nowadays. What was previously a first day buy for some consumers becomes a bargain bin or second hand sale.

    People should stop hating on them now, seriously they do actually listen to their fans out there than most companies. They pushed the release dates closer for US and Japan and they put both English and Japanese audio in it to make the fans happy who prefer Japanese voices like myself. Let them just do this one thing. I highly doubt it will happen again with all this rage but they are better than most! They spent alot of time making this game for us. You know how long it takes to translate text etc for them considering how much text this game will have? So Iet this one slide, they put alot of work into this. Also I am hyped for this game so much! ;o

    Can you blame Atlus for being a bit concerned for their profits? They aren't exactly rolling in cash and IT IS a valid concern. Reverse importing happens and given how popular online shopping is here, there is a good chance of it happening.

    Damaging sales in America will also potentially damage chances of new games being localised.

    So the only reason they're letting the genie out of the bottle is short-sighted greed?

    Fuck Atlus then, I'm done with them.

    I think Sony should step in and say "no, this is a region free console and all titles are to remain that way" - this whole region coding stuff is one of the biggest excuses given by people who "chip" or "hack" their machines - and now Atlus are making it a valid reason on the PS3..

      2 reasons why no one will care a 2 or weeks time:

      1. How much people are going to even buy this, Street Fighter (biggest fighting franchise) barely hits the 100k mark in sales.
      2. The region free excuse only works if the game is not available in your region, clearly it's going to be released in all regions. Two weeks delay is hardly a reason to go 'chip' a console.

        SFxT sold over 1mil or was it 1.4mil copies, your argument is invalid.

          oh and a quick wiki on Street fighter 4

          Street Fighter IV has sold 3.1 million units by March 2011. Super Street Fighter IV has sold 1.8 million units, in addition to 400,000 of the Arcade Edition, by December 2011.[15] Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition sold an additional 1 million copies by April 2011,[16] and 1.1 million as of December 2011.[15] This adds up to sales of 6.4 million copies in total.

          Your argument is even more invalid.

        PAL release doesn't have a date yet. Publisher says they're aiming August 31 but they've never released a game on time, every one of their releases has had multiple delays.

        And even then, it's the principle of the thing. If region locking becomes a standard thing then it narrows our choice and availability for no reason other than lining the publisher's pockets.

    And what of the EU region? Articles never seem to mention it.

    I'm no market analyst, but I have a feeling this move may actually cost them more than they would have lost by having it region free. People who normally import may do so because they have no interest in buying the title if it were more expensive so those sales will be lost. Time will tell I guess.

      Safe to assume we have to wait for it to be released to our region... since we won't be able to import Jap or US versions due to region locking.

    Region locking is evil and I wish it could be outlawed as anti-competitive (since that is exacly why it's in place, to allow publishers to set prices and release dates in different regions with no fear of customers importing from overseas if they are too unreasonable... just as Atlus are doing here).

    This is a disappointing news considering we in Australia usually get the game late, like Catherine. -.- Anyone knows if the Japanese version will have the English translation in-game?

    I thought region locking was something Sony always boasted would never happen on the PS3. Whilst this is just one game, if it sees an improvement in sales because of it, it may start a worrying trend and see region locking occur more frequently, especially in the next gen.

    Also, so now we find out the PS3's region locking is exactly the same as the 360's - it's up to the developer / publisher. It just seems that games on the PS3 weren't region locked as Sony had boasted PS3 games never would be.

    so, mine is 320G white slim edition... it says at the back made in china with model number CECH-3012B (after google the number, turn out to be hong-kong made)...

    so which region should I buy for this game? north america, japan, europe or??

    please guys, you gotta to help meeee~~

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