Liveless's Blog

ATLUS, Persona 5, and Emulation

September 27, 2017 @ 12:36 pm

I understand where ATLUS is coming from on their stance to remove RPCS3 from existence, but at the same time, companies need to understand that emulators are perhaps the single most important thing to happen to gaming for one reason: PRESERVATION.

I’m a die hard fan of the Persona series and I legally purchased Persona 4 Golden (Vita) and Persona 5 (PS4). After completing both in addition to Arena and Ultimax, I was very interested in going back to earlier entries. Not owning a PSP, I went and completed Persona 3 Portable on an emulator and it ran perfectly. If some idiot wants to put forth the argument that a company loses money because of emulation: let me explain this. If I were to go through the standard legal procedure to play Persona 3, I would first have to locate and purchase a PSP. This hardware is no longer manufactured by Sony and the only people who make profit are the customers who bought it years ago. The same dichotomy applies to the game. I would have to go and dig through Amazon, eBay, or local yard sales to find a copy whose disc is HOPEFULLY unscathed (as we know so many gamers take AWFUL care of their cartridges/discs/cases) then give them the money (meaning, not ATLUS) to be able to play a game.

If companies want emulation to stop, they need to either ditch consoles completely and put their software on systems that last forever (Windows, PC, Steam) such that it will be preserved, or find a way to remaster their IPs for every single hardware generation. If I want to go back and play Persona 3 in 10 years, it will be damn near impossible WITHOUT emulators. Not every company makes the effort to “remaster” and “resell” customers with the same game or IP over and over like Square does with Kingdom Hearts. Physical discs and cartridges degrade over time just like consoles do. Digitally preserved ROM files remain intact forever. New games are hardly ever emulated because the community needs many years to fully implement a software equivalent of the hardware whose architecture is often incredibly complex which is especially the case with the PS3. Persona 5 is an outlier because it’s one of the only games to be ported on last generation systems in 2017. That does not give ATLUS the right to crack down on an entire community and platform that simply exists to preserve this incredible industry and its artistic works.

EDIT: Discs are far more difficult to get access to, let alone reproduce since they are no longer manufactured by the company who created the game. They last a long time but not nearly as long as digital files. Yet ANOTHER reason why emulation is so important. Sure servers and hard drives do not last forever either, but digital files can be preserved forever as they can be easily copied/duplicated thousands of times over. If companies don't want piracy, they should allow their software to be accessed in a way that lasts forever. Sony has been terrible about this. A few years ago I purchased Final Fantasy VI on PS3. When I found out my purchases would not transfer to PS4 (not just games, but literally all digital purchases), I was outraged.