Are Persona 5 Streaming Guidelines Unreasonable?

After being put off – literally for years – Atlus has finally released Persona 5, and even they’re allowing jokes about that delay. How could they not when April 2017 is a long way from Winter 2014? All kidding aside, though, don’t make any jokes about their streaming guidelines. Atlus didn’t hold onto Persona 5 all this time to permit a deluge of spoilers.

Game streaming has become a standard part of the gaming experience and while early reviewers almost always receive guidelines that limit how much they can reveal to the public via video, it’s unusual for a company to institute such rules once the game is released.

Interestingly, the rules for average gamers regarding streaming Persona 5, however, are almost identical to early reviewer rules. Is this fair – or even reasonable?

Preventing Spoilers

On the one hand, Atlus has been very clear about why they don’t want players to publish videos that reveal later game play or videos more than 90 minutes long – they want to keep this long-awaited video game under wraps for players and prevent game spoilers. They’ve even vowed to remove social media posts containing spoilers.

On the other hand, though, no one is making you watch an hour of video revealing serious gameplay; in a long form game, a single sentence of text isn’t going to kill the whole experience. After all, gaming is about the journey.

Preventing Deeper Engagement

While Atlus is busy telling users they can’t push the limits of streaming because of the risk of game spoilers, many gamers recognize that streaming – including user commentary, failures, and extraordinary feats – are part of the fun. And it’s not just the gamers; other game publishers share this perspective. Immediately following the Atlus announcement, Devolver Digital issued its own “guidelines.” The rules include “spoil it real hard” and smile while you do it.

In essence, telling gamers they can’t stream significant parts of Persona 5 or post spoilers or key plot points means that Atlus is creating a barrier to deeper engagement with their game. For something as long awaited as Persona 5, this could be a real problem. Yes, people want to play, but they also want to be part of an online community that’s loudly and actively talking about the game – and Atlus is saying no, you can’t do that.

All in all, we think Atlus is taking this all too far and too seriously, especially when they say they’ll issue account suspensions to those who don’t abide by the streaming rules. Gamers are shelling out for your long awaited product and now you’re telling them what to do with it. If Atlus wants to keep a loyal following, they need to let gamers play by their own rules.

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