There are a couple of kinks in the recent ban on Persona 5 streaming, but overall, there’s no reason for the internet to reach for their pitchforks.
For those who don’t know, Atlus recently issued a warning to the video game streaming community concerning the streaming of Persona 5. Streamers were warned of copyright infringement bans if they broadcast game events past 7/7 in the game world, reveal specific essential plot points and twists, or fail to warn viewers of potential spoilers when showing anything up to July 7th in the game world. A maximum of 90 minutes per upload has been enforced, with restrictions placed on the showing of palace endings and boss battles (bar the first one).
It’s not exactly the duct tape over the mouth of the gaming community that many are rioting against. There is plenty of action streamers can introduce their viewers to, and plenty of story points and decisions that viewers can experiment with in playthroughs. So why is everyone getting so angry about the Personal 5 streaming ban?
The fact that Atlus released the information after the game’s official release date is perhaps an oversight. Allowing so many streamers to offer the game on their channel only to find that their efforts are worth slightly less might cause some angst. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that this is by no means a total ban on footage which is how many streamers are seeming to react. With refusals to stream the game, streamers are attempting to boycot the release with a lack of YouTube coverage, but is this reaction warranted?
Atlus are renowned for their low tolerance of the copyright grey area that is gamplay broadcasting or streaming. Previously, they have been called out for suspending accounts without warning even on smaller channels. While I agree this kind of action is unfair and uncalled for, issuing a temporary warning on broadcasting content after a certain point in the game is another question entirely.
I’ve spoken about this before in a piece about That Dragon, Cancer’s monetary shortcomings in the face of streamers releasing the entire narrative journey to millions of viewers who never purchased the game. We know that while streaming arguably increases community awareness of titles, they may do just as much damage in sales as they do good in marketing.
These exposure arguments are becoming some of the most fiery in the comment sections of sites and on Twitter. However, it’s important to remember that Persona 5 will allow you to stream a good deal of the game – just not the entire experience. Is it so far fetched in 2017 that a creator of a product should be hounded for asking that their product is not pirated? Or at the very least, that the plot twists and character development paths they worked so hard to perfect are being released for free.
It’s not about spoiling – if someone wants to watch the entire game and have it spoilt then they were probably never going to buy that game in the first place. Plus they were actively seeking spoilers.
It’s not about dirty money-grabbing. If wanting people to buy the video game you spent millions on making is dirty money-grabbing then the entire industry has some thinking to do.
It’s not about ignoring the loudest voices in the community. I’ve said it so many times in this article you might be wondering if it’s an SEO keyword but i’ll say it again YOU CAN STILL STREAM PERSONA 5. (It’s not a keyword I promise). Atlus are simply saying don’t give away our ending – we have crafted it to perform incredibly well in playthrough, and we don’t want players to miss out on that because they’ve watched someone else playing it.
Persona 5 is an incredibly story driven game. It runs on the personal journey between avatar and player and the twisting single player adventure undertaken together. These types of games stand to lose a lot more than competitive multiplayer games, for example, in streaming. Rarely do viewers watch an entire storyline and then purchase the game to relive it all again. Streams can draw in viewers who want to check out the game’s potential and see how it works before deciding whether or not to buy, and that’s allowed for by Atlus’s streaming guidelines. Streams can show people what other players did with their experience, how they reacted to certain story points or tackled certain bosses, and that’s allowed for by the temporary nature of the ban that essentially waits for people to finish the game before streams are allowed.
It’s a word that’s been thrown around forums and comment sections a lot concerning this story. Entitlement. I normally shrink away from such a phrase as it’s often used in such a way that doesn’t correspond with the way the world has changed even in the last three years. Nevertheless, overblown streamer reactions to not being able to personally distribute the work undertaken by a team of specialised and hard working artists are currently full of entitlement.
I’m open to your thoughts here. It’s an incredibly grey area that the industry is still trying to get its head around. Do you think studios should be able to dictate how their content is distributed when their product is being given away for free? Are the restrictions too harsh in any way for the state of the industry in 2017? Let’s work it out in the comments.