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Atlus isn't keen on Persona 5 streaming

“Our masters in Japan are very wary about it.”

Persona 5 is out! Hurrah! Atlus' long-awaited and favourably reviewed RPG is finally in the hands of the masses. There's only one problem: the publisher is very wary of spoilers getting out. So wary, in fact, that it's threatening to remove any stream with anything even resembling a spoiler.

Three characters from Persona 5, with the girl at the front pointing.
Image credit: Atlus

In a note to fans Atlus explained its rather strict media sharing guidelines. For one, it doesn't want players revealing videos of anything that happens after 7th July in-game. The game begins in April and lasts roughly a year, so basically this encompasses the latter three quarters of the game.

On top of that, Atlus offered the following restrictions:

  • You can post however many additional videos you'd like, but please limit each to be at most 90 minutes long.
  • No major story spoilers, and I'll leave that up to your good judgment. If you need some guidelines, avoid showing/spoiling the ending segments of the first three palaces. While you can show initial interactions with Yusuke, avoid his awakening scene, and that whole deal about THE painting. Also, don't post anything about a certain student investigator.
  • I know I mentioned not showing the end of each palace, but you can grab footage from the Kamoshida boss fight. However, don't capture video from the other major boss fights.
  • Must not focus solely on cutscenes/animated scenes, should prominently feature dungeon crawling/spending time in Tokyo.
  • You can post straight gameplay or have commentary.

Some of what Atlus considers "story spoilers" are vague. To wit, this is what it considers an acceptable story discussion: "The game deals with dark themes right off the bat, with a lecherous teacher and other corrupted individuals."

And this is what it considers a violation: "Players immediately run into trouble with the pervy teacher *spoiler*, whose actions go so far as to cause *spoiler*."

To clarify things a little, the game itself blocks media sharing through the native PS4 UI once you hit a story-heavy sequence or get too far into the game, though there are third-party workarounds.

Cover image for YouTube videoPersona 5 | Sizzle Trailer | PS4

Amusingly, Atlus makes it clear that this isn't the western distributor's decision, but an ordain that came in from on high in Japan. "This being a Japanese title with a single-playthrough story means our masters in Japan are very wary about it," Atlus said.

Failure to comply with the rules above mean "you do so at the risk of being issued a content ID claim or worse, a channel strike/account suspension."

Naturally, Persona fans aren't happy about this.

Redditor MariachiMacabre suggested the publisher was shooting itself in the foot with this line of reasoning. "Given that a good chunk of the fan base (myself among them) got into this franchise watching the P4 Endurance Run where Giant Bomb played the entire game, this is an absurd line of thinking on the part of Atlus," they said.

Reddit user Parkerdude added that these draconian restrictions were more outlandish than Nintendo's similarly stingy streaming rules. "This is FAR WORSE than Nintendo, Nintendo allows their games to be streamed. They even allow you to post any of it on YouTube, they just try to make money off of it on YouTube," the angry fan explained. "Atlus won't let you stream past 7/7 or even post certain parts of the game on Youtube. This makes Nintendo look like a saint."

Some think that this is an empty threat, however. Redditor crazy_lizardman said "I don't even think that they can follow through with these threats since the whole playthrough is already on YouTube, in Japanese for like half a year and the English one was added recently. The ship Atlus is trying to sink has already set sail and is beyond the horizon."

Some of these streams have been taken down, though it's unclear whether it involved a DMCA takedown notice or merely the threat of one. Either way, Atlus is really trying to clamp down on story spoilers, much to fans' chagrin.