Atlus has walked back the controversial restrictions it placed on streaming Persona 5, while offering an apology for the "threatening" tone of its original announcement.
Initially, Atlus restricted streaming to content before the in-game date of July 7, which is around a third of the school year that the story of Persona 5 encompasses. The antagonistic potential of that decision was only exacerbated by the wording of the announcement, which attributed it to the concern of "our masters" that streams could spoil the game for those who haven't yet purchased a copy.
The statement continued: "If you decide to stream past [the in-game date] 7/7 (I HIGHLY RECOMMEND NOT DOING THIS, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED), you do so at the risk of being issued a content ID claim or worse, a channel strike/account suspension."
"We clearly chose the wrong tone for how to communicate this"
Now, in a new statement, Atlus admitted "our surprise" at the response from press, streamers and public alike. "We recognize that our fans are the reason why the game is the major worldwide success it is, and we continue to want them to be able to enjoy the game without fear of being spoiled," Atlus said.
Persona 5 players are now allowed to streak the game until November 19, as the story approaches its "final act." Atlus has also lifted another restriction that limited streams to 90 minutes.
"We also want to apologize to those of you who saw the previous guidelines blog post as threatening," Atlus added. "We want to be transparent about what we do, and the reason we released the guidelines was to give streamers the right information up front.
"It was never our intention to threaten people with copyright strikes, but we clearly chose the wrong tone for how to communicate this."
Atlus evidently understands that the genie can't be put back in the bottle with streaming, and the fact that the game hit 1.5 million sales worldwide on April 7 suggests that it has been an unqualified hit for Sega and Atlus. However, there are valid concerns about the effect streaming can have on sales for smaller developers. Ryan Green, the developer of That Dragon, Cancer went on record about the damage Let's Play videos had on its commercial success.
"Let's Play culture is vibrant and creative and really cool," he said, but was critical of streamers that simply took the entire game and posted it online, adding little extra value with their own voice. He asked that streamers create "Let's Play videos that don't just rebroadcast the entirety of our content with minimal commentary, but instead use portions of our content as a context to share your own stories and start conversations with your viewers.
"We would encourage you to link to our site and directly encourage viewers to support our work financially through buying the game, or donating a dollar or two to our studio if they believe that what we did has value. This small act will allow us to continue to work."