Atlus have confirmed that the upcoming Persona 4: Arena, a fighting game featuring stars from the Persona series, will be region-locked on PlayStation 3. This move will prevent importers from playing the title on PS3 systems outside of the region of the game; for example, if you were to import a copy from America or Japan, it would not work on a PS3 purchased in New Zealand.
This is the first PlayStation 3 game known to be region-locked, a practice that is commonplace (even typical) on the Xbox 360, and was added to Nintendo's line of handhelds with the DSi.
Originally mentioned by a moderator on the official Atlus forums, EGMNow reached out to the publisher for confirmation, which they later received:
“Persona 4 Arena will be region-locked in all territories on both PS3 and 360.”
It's unclear why Atlus has chosen to pursue region-locking at this stage, however - perhaps as a reaction to the lengthy localization time Atlus are known for - Persona titles are understood by NZGamer.com to be popular with importers around the world, particularly those in Europe.
A comparison table showing a sample of Atlus releases in Japan vs. America vs. Europe (Australian and NZ releases are later still, if they happen at all):
|Title||JPN Release||USA Release||EUR Release|
|Persona 3||July 13, 2006||August 14th 2007||February 29, 2008|
|Persona 3 FES||April 19, 2007||April 22, 2008||October 17, 2008|
|Persona 3 Portable||November 1, 2009||July 6, 2010||April 28, 2011|
|Persona 4||July 10, 2008||December 9, 2008||March 13, 2009|
|Persona (PSP)||April 29, 2009||September 22, 2009||August 11, 2010|
Persona 4 Arena, on the other hand, is due to release July 26th in Japan, then just 12 days later (August 7th) in America, before heading to Europe on August 31st. No Australasian plans have been announced.