Twitch And YouTube Streamers Slam Persona 5’s Video Policy

Twitch And YouTube Streamers Slam Persona 5’s Video Policy

Yesterday, Atlus warned Persona 5 players that if they show gameplay footage after a certain point in the game, Atlus will go after their channels with copyright claims and strikes. While some streamers aren’t surprised by this policy, they have reacted with frustration at what they feel are measures that will negatively impact their channels.

Atlus USA posted a note to streamers on their website yesterday that implied that copyright strikes will be coming for anyone who streams Persona 5 past the in-game date of 7/7. They, in fact, “highly recommend” you don’t do this, in all caps. The game also blocks the PlayStation 4’s native sharing features for videos and screencaps. The reaction from streamers was vocal, and very negative.

Atlus has historically had a draconian approach to streaming and Let’s Plays. After the release of Persona 4: Dancing All Night, the developer would hit even very small channels with copyright strikes. Eliot Gardepe, who used to stream and do Let’s Plays with a friend, had his channel put out of commission for six months because of such a strike.

“Not too long after I posted our first video playing P4DAN I got an email saying we had been hit with a copyright strike,” Gardepe told me yesterday in an email. “There was no warning, no request to remove the offending video, nothing like that. Naturally I was very confused as we were, and remain, extremely niche but it seemed that our video of P4DAN‘s story mode was called into question.”

When a YouTube channel has a copyright strike against it, the owner will be unable to perform certain actions, like uploading a video that’s over 15 minutes long. “So our channel was basically hamstrung for several months while we waited for the repercussions for the strike to end,” Gardepe said.

Streams and Let’s Plays exist in a legal grey area where they are at the whims of publishers and developers. While streamers and Let’s Players are aware of this risk, some say they feel that their work benefits developers, and that it’d make no sense for publishers like Atlus to go after them. Fraser, a streamer who also produces a show called Video Games AWESOME!, says he can understand the common concern that when players watch a Let’s Play or a stream, they won’t buy the game in question. But based on what he’s seen from his audience, he says that streams encourage people to pick up games they’re unsure about, and the majority of his fans are mostly watching games they have already bought in the first place.

“Many of our viewers watch our stream after playing ahead in a game’s story, not only to see our reactions to major plot points, but to experience levels and plot choices through another person’s eyes,” Fraser said in an email. “Will they have as much trouble as I did on this boss? How will they react to this character’s death? When asked if they would watch our show instead of playing through their next most anticipated game title the resounding response from my audience is ‘Hell no!'”

Fraser hadn’t initially been intending to play Persona 5 at all, but decided to stream on release day after seeing excitement for the game from his fan base. After Atlus announced their policy on streaming, he cancelled it, echoing many other streamers and YouTubers who have since declared that they have no plans to support Persona 5. “I refuse to promote a brand that can not recognise a fundamental evolution in the way video games are consumed and enjoyed,” he said. 


  • The publishers can/should/probably already have conducted their own internal investigations into their audience’s buying habits. Hopefully, the bigger ones/console manufacturers would do surveys or something to establish what percentage of their paying customers are actually purchasing due to Let’s Plays.

    The thing is, like the article with the actual wording from Atlus yesterday, the company is being as nice as possible in delivering this news.

    That announcement, while stern and assertive, is not all supposed to be taken as a threat. It’s an olive branch. It’s almost mediator-like.

    But there’s this narrative that Youtubers seem to have at the moment that’s a throwback to their war on what they consider ‘mainstream’ or traditional media (gaming focused or otherwise) – they use their audiences as cudgels to wield and bludgeon individuals and companies they do not like.

    They saw Atlus making that statement, and took it as a threat. So here we are.

    All this risks doing is making it even more enforceable, ie disabling all streaming of the game altogether.

  • I think that a game is in the playing, so I don’t really like the concept of streaming. Few streamers are anywhere as stylish as Persona, and I can understand Atlas not wishing for others to prodit off of their property.

  • ‘Booohooo, I can’t leech off the success of another company because I can’t produce any original content that doesn’t consist of my incoherent shouting whilst playing a video game’

    Good riddance. I really hope more companies start taking a similar stance on their single player games as I personally know scores of ‘gamers,’ who are actually just ‘lets play’ addicts, that need some genuine motivation to go and experience these games for themselves.

  • This entire article completely misses the point. Past 7/7 there will be major plot revelations. Atlus is protecting players from being spoiled the story. A single thumbnail or video description can give a ton away and I’d really rather that not appear in my related videos lineup or when I search “persona 5”.

  • It seems that streamers and the like are a very self entitled bunch. In such a story driven game, seeing beyond a certain point will likely result in less sales. The publisher has been polite and reasonable about it. Although streamers call themselves ‘content creators’ they are very much relying on the content of others, and as such need to repect the bounds of the content they are using at an extremely low price (when compared to scripts or the public display of films and other analogous content).

  • I don’t mind people streaming to be honest. Its a good thing. Esports and games like overwatch/DayZ/Counterstrike and so forth with no progressive story.

    But what i do mind, is that friend(I’m sure we all have them) you have, that doesn’t buy/play games even though they can afford it, yet they tell you they don’t have enough time to play the games but alternatively sits there spending an absurd amount of time watching them. Then goes ranting off like he is an expert on the game when he hasn’t even touched it once, but definitely knows the ending, or the good bits that make the game great. Then goes on to criticize the game like he has played it and gives you a bunch of second hand advice on how you should be playing it.

    Sometimes its good that streamers aren’t allowed to stream the whole thing. At least i can reach the end without having someone telling me, “I know what happens 2 hours from now~ wink wink”, when all they did was just sit and watch. Just my opinion. >.

  • Streams and Let’s Plays exist in a legal grey area where they are at the whims of publishers and developers.

    Not really. Having even a basic understanding of Copyright law makes this incredibly clear cut: Consumers have no right to reproduce any part of a copyrighted work without license from the rights holder with the exception of fair use or transformative works.

    Streaming gameplay doesn’t fall under any of these exceptions.

    While streamers and Let’s Players are aware of this risk, some say they feel that their work benefits developers, and that it’d make no sense for publishers like Atlus to go after them.

    I think streamers make this claim are ignorant at best and disingenuous at worst. The primary beneficiary of a stream is the streamer. The unauthorised reproduction of a work in no way benefits the rights holder .

    It’s like saying that ripping a music album and distributing publicly for free benefits the band by giving them exposure. Total BS.

  • I have no issue with streaming, and some people seem to enjoy it as a form of entertainment completely separate from gaming, and that’s fine. There’s no issue with that. But what gets on my nerves a bit is when Streamers basically protest a company saying “Hey, please don’t use our works as part of your business”, or in this case a much much mellower and more reasonable “Hey, after a certain point in this game, there’s going to be a tonne of spoilers, please only stream up to that point”.

    How many people are consuming games is changing, that’s true. The way that Let’s Plays are hapenning changes as well, and an industry is growing from it. But I think it’s fair for a company to want others not to use their works as part of their business or spoil their works for profit.

    It was one thing when Let’s Plays was a completely indie thing, where a community popped up and people weren’t doing this as a full-time job. But now that people are making a living off of it, making money and building businesses from it, the “industry” needs to start realising that if they’re going to be a mainstream industry, they need to start acting like it. They can’t just do whatever they want, make a living off of it and then complain about companies who are saying they’d like to not have their works be part of it, or have their story heavy content be up for all to see like that

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