Persona 5 and the “Spoilers” Scam

The recent Persona 5 controversy around streaming and game spoilers is another gaming debate that has the internet rage machine turning once again and consuming all those within its path. We do so love a good controversy.

It all stems from the, seemingly rather tone-deaf and aggressive post from atlus, the creators of Persona 5 that if people stream past a certain point in the game then they will receive copyright strikes, or account termination. A threat that has actually been carried out a few times at this point.

I have several thoughts about the legality and legitimacy of let’s play style videos and believe it to be a more nuanced discussion than just claiming entitlement, and the boundaries of fair use,as well as what companies are able to restrict and decide. In this case though I think they are being a little disingenuous with the reason behind the restrictions.

First it seems rather odd to place one single story barrier that people are unable to show past for a few reasons.

  1. The information has been available for a rather long time due to the eastern release. Several months in fact.

  2. If someone is not wanting to see spoilers then they simply wouldn’t watch. That style of content is known for showing the entirety of your game

  3. Spoilers are everywhere already even from the western release, within print and on social media. It makes no sense for one medium to be restricted in what it can show and talk about

  4. If it’s a decent game, which going by the ratings it is, then people are going to want to buy it regardless of any spoilers they may have seen – that is, if they were going to buy it anyway.

And that’s the thing, the restriction makes no sense as a means of stopping spoilers but more as a way of creating marketing for themselves and more sales. To entice people with those earlier story elements, to hook them with the game enough that it hopefully results in a purchase so they can no longer see further. A commercial or non-playable demo. 

Of course this is merely a stretch of deductive reasoning but when accounting for how Sega Japan has previously flexed its legal might with issuing copyright strikes for its sonic franchise rather frequently, and even getting videos of shining force removed when there was another similar title being released and well – their motivation is easy to see . They’ve even been known to take down videos that may be competing with upcoming games because they want those front page views. 

It isn’t about the story, and not wanting to spoil the game for others. It’s just a ruse so that they can once again get away with controlling content so that it might correlate into greater sales, because they still obviously believe in that outdated corporate notion that a let’s play view equals a lost sale. They just learned their lesson from previous backlash and decided to word it a little differently this time but make no mistake – it’s a restriction born of greed and I really dislike that.