The PlayStation 4 has a Share button. It’s one of the system’s most distinctive features. At any time, you can tap that to let everyone you know on Facebook, Twitter, Twitch, YouTube, and even the PlayStation Network know what you’re doing. It’s a great way to connect. Plus it sets the system apart. So why are some companies taking that joy away from us?
The game in question is Persona 5. It’s a highly anticipated JRPG that’s the latest 2017 title to be getting 10/10 review scores across the board. It’s part of a lauded series, one with stories known for their twists and turns. Which is why Atlus has blocked and limited the Share functionality in the PlayStation 4 version of the game. To protect people from spoilers, it’s stopping all screenshots and put strict limits on streaming. It'll sue people who stream the game after the in-game date of 7/7.
This, of course, is a silly movement. It’s a permanent solution to a temporary problem. When a game like Persona 5 is blocked, it means you can’t let people watch you play, take screenshots of your favorite moments, or generally engage in all the activities we’ve come to PlayStation 4 titles. Sure, it’s keeping spoilers off of the internet, but it’s also keeping all mention of the game offline for people who don’t have a means of getting around it. (I’m talking about a capture card, naturally.)
While spoilers are a big problem, they aren’t one that lasts forever. Typically, usually one to three months after a game’s release, people get rather lenient about spoilers. They understand that there’s an unspoken statute of limitations that gets lifted. In addition, the PlayStation 4’s Share functionality isn’t where the big problems with spoiler lies. That’s in sites like Reddit or Twitter, where people carelessly write about plot points or share images. If someone’s actively searching for a Persona 5 live stream or archived video, odds are they’re aware that watching footage of the game is going to spoil the game for them. (Sorry if you’re only just finding out that watching a game being played will show you what happens in it. Didn’t mean to spoil that for you!)
Instead of helping themselves, disabling the Share feature for Persona 5 will hurt the game. It’s an immediate hit, because it’s keeping people from telling their friends about the game. You know what’s a great selling point? Watching someone play or seeing screenshots of moments they thought were cool. Do you think The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s shark boy would have become the internet idol he is if it hadn’t been for the Switch’s screenshot functionality? Would people be talking about how perfect the Resident Evil VII monstrous family’s hair and teeth had been if they couldn’t get screenshots or videos? What about all those images of 2B’s… “attire” in NieR: Automata? The ability to share footage amongst ourselves helped boost hype about these games.
Besides, attempting to defend against Persona 5 spoilers now is a little ridiculous. The game has been out in Japan since September 2016. Its coming up on seven months old. If people wanted to know what happened? They know what happened. This block is silly, because this is a game where the information has already been out there for a good, long while. There’s no point in restricting it at this point. Especially when the restriction would only need to be in place for a month or two.
Spoilers can be a problem. This is true. There are people out there who’ll want to tell people what happens in these games to ruin it for them. Disabling and limiting Share functionality for a game isn’t going to make that less of an issue. It just makes it more difficult for people who want to play Persona 5 the right way enjoy it and show their friends what a wonderful game it is. It’s something that didn’t need to be done and will make things difficult for players.
Image Credit: miguelman300