Danganronpa is a series of visual novel mystery games by Japanese devs Spike Chunsoft. They’re published in the West by NIS America, who have just advised “streamers, influencers, and media” that they face video takedowns if they ignore the devs’ guidelines for coverage of the franchise’s latest entry.
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Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony releases in North America this week, and the EU and Australasia in the next two weeks. It came out in Japan in January, but NIS America are clearly keen for nothing to be spoiled for their western audience. Here’s what they said over Twitter yesterday evening:
Those who decide on breaking the guidelines will risk being contacted by Spike Chunsoft to remove any video content past Chapter One. (2/2)— NIS America, Inc. (@NISAmerica) September 19, 2017
The word 'threat' is an inflammatory one, but that’s basically what this is, and it’s drawn a mixed response in the replies. While some are content to respect the devs’ wishes, others interpret this as an attack on the streaming community, comparing the threat with Atlus’s attempt to set similar limitations on streaming PlayStation 4 exclusive, Persona 5, earlier in the year.
Mention of “content past Chapter One” suggests these guidelines are spoiler-based. As with Persona, the spoiler defence doesn’t seem to have impressed - at least one makes the point that viewers who don’t want spoilers can just switch off at any time, while one streamer says “if you can't trust fans and consumers to moderate for themselves it's just a slap in the face.” The view that this is a self-destructive attack on streamers seems widespread - one reply says “a streamer is the only reason I know you exist.”
Thanks to the backlash, Atlus eventually relented over Persona 5, relaxing their guidelines such that they permitted over 80% of the game to be streamed.
This debate will run and run. Few dispute that, as controllers of their own product, it’s up to publishers and developers to distribute early copies however they wish. But is it right that, having done so, they should continue to dictate terms?