What is stopping Atlus from porting games to PC?


People keep asking Atlus to port their games to PC and with the signs being shown by other Japanese game studios with their porting effects I can see why their asking for it. However, nobody ever looked to see if there something else that is preventing Atlus from doing the work cause money and time isn’t the issue but what about Japanese licensing rights and policies. This is only me guess as I lack knowledge of Japanese law but it has to be something in their culture structure that makes it hard for them to do it.


This is 1000% anecdotal and I don’t have any sources to back it up, but I remember hearing that for the longest time, Japanese developers saw Steam and thought it was somehow related to piracy. They didn’t believe they could really publish their games digitally on PC and actually make money from it.

In the relative scheme of things, it wasn’t until very recently that SNK, down on their luck, took a chance and published a few of their games on Steam (KOFXIII, some of their older Neo-Geo stuff through DotEmu) that they saw a HUGE surge of profits from as a result. The CEO of SNK even went on record to say Steam basically saved the company.

Since then, more Japanese developers have been catching on to SNK’s success on Steam and following suit. But definitely not all of them, and many Japanese developers still seem to struggle with PC ports in general (Platinum, for example)

There are parts of Atlus that really seem to be stuck in the past, so it wouldn’t surprise me if there’s some weird stigma against PC games that’s holding them back – even though Sega of Europe has already gone on record to say they’d love to get the OK to bring Persona to the PC (and Yakuza, too).

The only other explanation is that maybe Sony has exclusivity rights locked up, but PC is generally excluded from that.


PC gaming isn’t really a big thing in Japan, so a lot of Japanese developers just don’t consider it as a market. Even when they do port to Steam it’s usually a second-party port. It’s becoming more prominent among developers selling to the west, but with how insanely hardline Atlus is about their IPs I severely doubt they’d be happy to let someone else adapt their game.


Most multinationals (including Japanese ones) are perfectly capable of taking advice from their overseas branches and delivering products that suit other markets.

Whatever it is about Japanese games companies’ inability or unwillingness to do the same it’s not just about being Japanese.


Allergies to PC components.


A bunch of companies tried that, and then they failed miserably because it turned out that people wanted their more Japanese focused product, not something more generic designed to be attractive worldwide.

The fallout from that has been that many Japanese game developers view their games as something to be developed for Japan, with overseas sales as a bonus, rather than an explicit goal. A part of the PC surge that’s happening now is linked to PC Gaming becoming a bigger deal in Japan than it had been, bringing the possibility of a port as a Japan-focused outcome.

Now, that’s not all of it - some of it is China, some of it is American companies paying to have the games ported due to success of previous PC ports. But a lot of Japanese developers basically see their projects as being for Japan, and let other companies worry about overseas.


I can totally see that as far as the content goes, but for the platform it runs on? I can imagine JRPG fans being upset at the games feeling less Japanese, but not at them being upset that they run on a PC as well as a PS4.


I don’t mean only content! The PC Game market in Japan was tiny, so there was no internal view of PC releases as a thing for the Japanese market, so they didn’t port them. It wasn’t considered profitable.


Right. But they know that PC versions would be good in other territories, and making them wouldn’t mean that the product was any less “Japanese focused” or more “generic designed to be attractive worldwide”.


The point was that they completely gave up on thinking about other territories. The response to ‘A PC Port might help overseas sales’ would be ‘We make games for Japan’.