The Wii has it, most Xbox 360 games have it, and now, the PS3 is going to get it: region locked games. For most of this generation, Sony’s region free Playstation 3 has been the go-to console of choice for import gamers, but that may all soon change: Earlier this week Japanese publisher Atlus confirmed that the US version of the upcoming Persona 4 Arena will be the first PS3 game to be region locked.
Confirming earlier rumors, an Atlus employee posted the following message on the company’s official message board: “”Yes, the PS3 version game will be region-locked. I certainly can’t offer details as to why, but there might be an official response at some point.”
This news apparently only pertains to the North American version of the game, which sports both Japanese and English voice acting and text options, so people with American PS3’s should be affected by Atlus’ decision to place a region lock on the game. This move is likely an effort on Atlus’ part to keep gamers in Japan from importing the American version of the game: Japanese gamers have gotten into the habit of importing games from the US, since the standard American MSRP for games ($60) is significantly less than what it would cost to buy the Japanese versions of the same games, which often cost anywhere between the equivalent of 80 to 110 dollars.
Honestly, I’m surprised it took this long for a publisher to sell out and implement region locks, but it’s still a lamentable decision, and it’s pretty surprising that Atlus — a company with a hardcore following of otaku — would be the first company to start limiting their games in this way. Even though this decision probably won’t affect the majority of gamers in the West, people in the internet are already pretty outraged by this decision, so hopefully Atlus will backtrack on the region lock before Persona 4 Arena ships sometime later this year.