As a response to RPCS3's statement on Reddit and the public scrutiny they're getting, Atlus has issued their own statement. They confirm the news. Here it is in full:
"You might have heard earlier today that we issued a DMCA takedown notice involving emulation developer group RPCS3 and their Patreon page. Yes, it’s true. We settled upon this action for two reasons:
1. We believe that our fans best experience our titles (like Persona 5) on the actual platforms for which they are developed. We don’t want their first experiences to be framerate drops, or crashes, or other issues that can crop up in emulation that we have not personally overseen. We understand that many Persona fans would love to see a PC version. And while we don’t have anything to announce today, we are listening! For now, the best way to experience Persona 5 is on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3.
2. We appreciate the awareness generated by the emulation community for Persona 5 and know that it is a fantastic example of how much people are loving our game. We want to keep bringing you titles like Persona 5. Unfortunately, when our content is illegally circumvented and potentially made available for free, in a format we do not think delivers the experience and quality we intend, it undermines our ability to do so by diverting potential support from new audiences.
We want to continue having a dialogue about where and how you would like to play our games. Please let us know what you think."
We do appreciate that they are at least "considering" a PC version, and we do truly hope that this news and the reaction it has generated show Atlus that yes, PC owners do want their games, particularly Persona 5. Because that's the main takeaway we have from this - what if you don't own a PS4 or PS3? Even Sony have started making their games available on PC, so why not Atlus?
We do understand that they want people's experience of Persona 5 to be without errors and as they intended, and emulation is most definitely not a smooth process. But if you're emulating a game you need to be very aware of that fact, to start with, and we doubt you'll blame the game if RPCS3 crashes. Furthermore if someone's first experience of Persona 5 is on PC... then they probably don't own a PS4 or PS3.
Finally on their second point - and this is to the community, not Atlus - emulation is not piracy. You need to own the original game to legally emulate it, otherwise it is piracy. RPCS3 say this clearly, as do we.
Simple solution Atlus: put Persona 5 on PC, and we'll buy it. Promise.
Community manager SSShadow, on behalf of the entire team, has issued a statement on the Persona 5 takedown, and as expected - Atlus seems to hate us. Here's what they have to say.
"Atlus U.S.A. filed a DMCA takedown request directly to Patreon requesting the removal of Nekotekina & kd-11’s Patreon page for RPCS3 development. The reason given is as follows:
“The PS3 emulator itself is not infringing on our copyrights and trademarks; however, no version of the P5 game should be playable on this platform; and
Patreon responded to this request by stating they do not believe that removing the Patreon page entirely to be reasonable, given that the page itself does not specifically infringe on Atlus’s IP, and that they believe the emulator itself falls under fair use. After Patreon declined to remove the Patreon page, Atlus retorted by alleging:
“We kindly ask that you remove both for this reason – to make Persona 5 work on the emulator, the user has to circumvent our DRM protections. The following blog post provides specific instructions for “dumping the disc or PSN download” and discusses how Patreon finding
The team in particular call attention to, as we would like to, the specific turn of phrase "no version of Persona 5 should be playable on this platform", meaning PC. They really do hate us. Also it has to be said, Atlus were not going after the website of RPCS3, they were going after their Patreon - in other words, their funding, by trying to persuade Patreon to dump them. Which is, in all honesty, a dick move.
None of what RPCS3 are doing is illegal of course - it's not infringing on their IP, they don't actually say how to circumvent the disc's protection, and their general advice doesn't actually work with Persona 5. Plus, it's legal to make copies of a game you legally own for non-commercial purposes.
The team continues, regarding the actions they took and how they don't really matter.
"In discussion with the very helpful people over at Patreon we have decided to proceed with caution. Per the request of Patreon, we removed every single reference to Persona 5 on the Patreon page itself and rpcs3.net. This seems to have resolved the situation. RPCS3 as a project and the Patreon itself are safe. And whatever people may wish, there’s no way to stop any playable game from being executed on the emulator. Blacklisting the game? RPCS3 is open-source, any attempt would easily be reversed. Attempting to take down the project? At the time of this post, this and many other games were already playable to their full extent, and again, RPCS3 is and will always be an open-source project."
You can read the full interesting statement here, as well as some more positive news on their work on Demon's Souls and Atelier Escha & Logy.
A while ago we reported on PS3 emulator RPCS3 and how it had made Demon's Souls playable on PC for the first time. We didn't mention it at the time, but another major game that the RPCS3 community was quickly making strides with was Persona 5, the excellent JRPG in the Shin Megami Tensei series released in the West this year. The RPCS3 team and community were proud of having such an important game playable, but now the website and forum has removed any mention of Persona 5. This can mean one of two things - either Atlus and SEGA are porting Persona 5 to PC, or they hate us and don't want PC owners to get anywhere near Persona 5.
Previously the RPCS3 website had plenty of videos and mentions of Persona 5, but going there now it's impossible to find a single mention of it, even on the Compatibility page. Even the big Progress Reports, such as August, have seemingly been wiped from existence.
Curiously video of the game playable in RPCS3 is still available on the emulator's YouTube channel, but that may either be an oversight or the channel wasn't included with whatever transpired between Atlus and RPCS3.
We are presuming, as is the rampant speculation on Reddit, that Atlus was not happen with the site advertising that Persona 5 was playable on PC and sent them a cease and desist letter. <Update: it was a DMCA to their Patreon instead> While there is no legal recourse here since emulation itself is legal, and they're not offering illegal cracks of the game or anything, but even a small court battle proving this would be more than the community-funded team could face.
The optimistic side is that Atlus or SEGA informed RPCS3 that Persona 5 was to get a PC port and asked nicely for them to make it less obvious how to play Persona 5 on PC for free, which would kill the sales of a port. The pessimistic side is that they just hate the PC and don't want us to have Persona 5, and will aggressively stop any attempts by fans to do so. We hope for the former.
It should be pointed out that the game is still playable on PC through the RPCS3 emulator, it's merely any references, chat or support that has been wiped out - which some people might say were crucial to the still-not-perfect emulation of the game.
Persona 5 was released on PS3 and PS4 worldwide in April 2017, where it received widespread acclaim. We can certainly hope that it will come out on PC, since Japanese companies have been releasing JRPGs a lot more frequently on PC recently, particularly the likes of KOEI TECMO and SEGA, who Atlus are partnered with.
Do you want to see Persona 5 on PC folks? What do you think is going on here? Let us know below!