Stop Bashing Persona 5 For Its Streaming Ban

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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

@MusingsTwit

12 thoughts on “Stop Bashing Persona 5 For Its Streaming Ban

Add yours

  1. ATLUS certainly has the right to dictate how they want their content to be used, as is their right as the owners of the property. However, I’d say that consumers of their product also have the right to be unhappy with IP owners if they enforce rules that they feel are unfair.

    I agree with you that the rules regarding game streaming is still a grey area, with many western companies being more open to the idea of their titles being showcased. Japanese companies seem to have much more of a conservative viewpoint on things, with Persona 5 and Nintendo in general being great examples of how copyright laws can be used to prevent or severely limit the broadcast of their IPs. I don’t see sufficient evidence to support the claim that broadcasts of games hurts the sales of a game, or for that matter, any evidence that streaming helps game sales either.

    My personal experience with watching game streams has been mostly to see enough of a game to determine my own interest in purchasing it, or to simply be entertained by the personality hosting the stream. I’ve never watched a full playthrough of a game with the intention of making the purchase of a game unnecessary, and I’d venture to say that very few people watch a game being played for the purpose of avoiding the need to play it. I derive my joy from games from being the participant, not merely being a witness to it. That isn’t to say that there are people out there that watch full playthroughs in order to save them the cost of buying a title however, just that I feel it’s rather rare. Furthermore, I wouldn’t go so far as to insinuate that gameplay streams are equivalent to piracy, as I feel that’s a bit of a stretch in logic.

    To summarize, I believe studios certainly have the right to state how their content should be used, but consumers are under no requirement to be okay with how IP owners attempt to lock down their content. If an IP owner chooses to try to limit the exposure of their content to wider audiences (as is their prerogative), whether in the form of streaming, video, or other forms, they should be willing to endure any resulting backlash. I also feel that ATLUS’s rules for streaming are rather extreme, though if they offered them as guidelines instead of mandates enforced by the most extreme penalties permissible on hosting platforms, there would be far more compliance and much less anger.

    1. I think a lot of people are forgetting that these are temporary asks that still allow for a good deal of broadcast gameplay. In terms of streamers having the right to contest the ban I think we have to remember that these developers don’t work for free, so why should their work be distributed for free? I think the respect we have to afford the developer’s intentions for getting the best experience for their players outweighs the streamer’s needs for broadcast. That’s just my personal opinion, it’s obviously a grey area for a reason and that is that it’s so damn complicated! What do you think?

    2. It’s also when streamers actively harass and boycott such IP owners for not allowing them to distribute such work for free that a simple disenchantment with what they consider to be an unfair rule becomes something else entirely

      1. I think to say that to consider streaming of a game as distribution of it for free would require streaming to be considered a form of piracy, and if that’s the case then there’s a far bigger issue that needs to be dealt with in the games industry.

        That said, I don’t condone harassment in any form, and I think that most serious content creators are reluctantly respecting the decisions of ATLUS. The best course of action in that case is to simply state the displeasure of this restriction and not show the game at all. There’s nothing wrong with boycotting the game for disagreeing the policies that ATLUS has put in place however, just as I have refused to purchase Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered due to Activision’s ridiculous requirements for buying it.

        If anything, ATLUS made it clear that they aren’t open to their title being streamed, so the best course of action is to not stream it at all. If that impacts the publisher or developer negatively, then ATLUS probably should’ve considered the policy a little more extensively than they did.

        As a side note, I haven’t seen any indication that the restrictions are in any way temporary. If the restrictions are temporary, I suppose that it isn’t as bad (though still not excusable), but they are doing a remarkably poor job of communicating with their fans.

      2. I see what you mean about boycott streamers but I don’t think Atlus have made it clear they aren’t open to streaming – they streamed the first couple of hours of Persona 5 themselves. I agree that consumers have the right to not be happy with a decision but not streaming at all is simply an act of cutting off your own nose to spite your face. We also have to remember that Persona 5 is a game dedicated to its storyline, to the way players find out about each character, and the paths the player takes themselves through the game world and it’s discoveries – It’s easy to see why Atlus wants to take these precautionary measures to ensure that the plot points that this entire game rests on aren’t cheapened in experience

      3. I don’t think that streamers are being extreme about their desire to avoid the game considering the threats of legal action that are being thrown around. While the Persona 5 team’s livelihood is at stake regarding the sales performance of the game, they’re actively threatening the livelihood of the content creators that would want to cover it. The risk of punishment outweighs the reward of covering the game in this case. It seems reasonable to avoid streaming the title entirely.

        I’d also venture to say that ATLUS only put these rules in place because they can’t ban the use of capture hardware or software in full. Had they been truly open to their game being covered with videos, screenshots, and streams, they would’ve left the PS4 UI available to be used up to the 7/7 mark (which is actually feasible). Instead, they chose to completely remove the option for the general public. I feel that speaks to the true intentions of the company.

        Again, they are perfectly within their rights to do this, but that doesn’t mean that it’s okay. Like you said, it’s a grey area of morality to stream a game or create videos of it, but that would also mean that it isn’t necessarily bad to do so either.

      4. Ok I do agree with you there – banning PS4 capture is a strong move. It’s definitely not bad to stream – it’s a massive part of the industry and a brilliant way the industry has returned to its social roots – I just think that some are making this out to be a larger issue than it is. I do understand what you mean about the YouTube creators risking their livelihood by streaming the game, and I do empathise with that but Atlus have released very clear rules to allow for that. They’ve not been golden in the past with banning but this shows that they’re still working through methods of retaining their product while allowing the industry to be itself in 2017.

      5. Oh, I agree completely that some are blowing this WAY out of proportion. This isn’t the end of the world, or the end of streaming as we know it. Just one company burning a little PR capital to try and protect their content as much as possible.

      6. No problem! It helps to see another perspective to say the least, and I know that I’ve contemplated the issue a little more in depth as a result. You also may be interested to know that my wife agrees with you as well!

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