PlayStation 3 games are typically region-free, so players have had no trouble importing in the past. However, Persona 4: Arena will be region-locked, and some fans did not take kindly to this news. In fact, the reaction was large and loud enough to spur Atlus to release an official statement on the matter.
One of the first things Atlus wanted to stress in their statement was that this is not a slippery slope that sets a new precedent for the future. "This is an isolated case, a situation precipitated by a number of factors, some of which are simply out of our North American hands," said PR and sales manager Aram Jabbari. He went on to clarify that this is not being done out of "malice or a desire to control," contrary to the feelings of some disappointed fans.
One of the biggest factors behind the decision was the close release date of both the Japanese and North American versions of Arena. In Japan the fighter hits on July 26, with North America following closely behind on August 7. "The unforeseen consequence in all of this," said Jabbari, "was that we had a version of our biggest game of the year releasing within a couple weeks in two territories, both identical in content, but at radically different price points."
Persona 4: Arena will release in Japan for ¥7,329 (about $92), and will be the standard $59.99 in North America. Thus, Jabbari explains, "Importing, as great as it is for gamers who otherwise can't get access to a title, can also cannibalize the performance of a title in one territory to the benefit of another. While we're all one big ATLUS family, the reality is that the dramatic difference between the Yen and the Dollar makes for a dramatic difference in price."
Persona 4: Arena's multiplayer will still be global, and will not be affected by the lock. It all sounds pretty reasonable to me, personally , but how do you feel about the decision to have Persona 4: Arena be region-locked? Are you satisfied with Atlus' explanation?