Japanese game studio Atlus has loosened their online streaming restrictions for their game Persona 5, after gamers voiced their displeasure about being threatened with copyright strikes for broadcasting spoilers.
In April, Atlus posted on its U.S. blog that gamers who broadcast content from Persona 5 beyond the in-game date of July 7 — about a third of the way through its storyline — could have their channels suspended from platforms like YouTube and Twitch.
Gamers widely criticised these restrictions, arguing that Atlus was likely more worried that video playthroughs of their games might negatively impact sales than they would spoil key storyline moments for unsuspecting fans.
On Tuesday Atlus announced that they will allow players to stream or post videos from up until the in-game date of November 19, just before the story's final act.
The post wrote it was in response to "numerous reactive news articles," opinion videos and "many emails" asking them to loosen the restrictions.
"We also want to apologize to those of you who saw the previous guidelines as threatening," Atlus wrote. "It was never our intention to threaten people with copyright strikes, but we clearly chose the wrong tone for how to communicate this."
One restriction remains though: players still cannot post screenshots of Persona 5 on social media using the Sony PlayStation 4's Share function. Atlus locked the function, which is available for most games on the platform, when the game launched.
"I'm pretty shocked that they listened to the fans on this," says Toronto-based gaming vlogger Brock McLaughlin. "The game's almost been out for a month so I can see why they would loosen up on their previous stance. It looks good from a PR perspective on them."
Still, McLaughlin argues that if Atlus felt it was appropriate to allow players to broadcast the entire game except for the finale, why not remove the restrictions altogether?
"It's going be weird to follow a streamer's journey to nearly the very end and not know how the game finished for them. Streamers are still going to [find a way] around the ban so why not give them 100 per cent freedom?" he said.
"Their revised guidelines are far more reasonable and are better conveyed than before," said Toronto-based gamer and YouTuber Erika Szabo.
"I appreciate how Atlus has identified the root of the problem — tone. Their initial guidelines seemed unlike the company, and I believe that threw many fans."