Atlus Expect Persona Q Shortages At Launch In Japan

By Ishaan . March 26, 2014 . 12:03pm

In a recent tweet, Atlus indicated that they expect Persona Q shortages at retail when the game launches in Japan. They suspect this will happen due to their other recent releases, which have sold out at launch or shortly after.


“In the case of the last few Atlus games, be it [Shin Megami Tensei IV] or [Etrian Odyssey Untold], there have been a lot of stores out of stock after the first week, or in the worst cases, on release day itself,” Atlus said in a tweet.


“We feel deeply for all the customers that were looking forward to our games but contacted us saying, ‘I couldn’t buy it.’ For those who plan on buying Persona Q, we believe it is safer to pre-order the game. We’ll be counting on your orders.”


Persona Q will be available in Japan on June 5th. The game’s launch will be accompanied by a limited edition Nintendo 3DS XL that is designed to look like a Persona compendium.

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  • Afternoon Intergalactic

    I’ll preorder as soon as it’s listed!

  • neo_firenze


    If they can comfortably predict shortages, they should make more games. This sounds more like a ploy to do a couple things:

    1) Brag about high “sell-through” numbers at release, which many people (including Siliconera, recently obsessed with publisher-released sell through stats) will fall for as evidence of unexpectedly high demand. This is just a tool for hype, trying to make it news that a new release is hard to get. It’s obviously NOT a surprise if Atlus is predicting shortages in advance, it’s a calculated marketing strategy to artificially reduce supply. The other possibility when you see very high sell through numbers is just poor forecasting and actual surprise that they didn’t print enough copies, but since Atlus seems to KNOW they’re not shipping enough to meet demand in this case I think we can rule that out for Persona Q.

    2) If they’re offering an eShop version, intentionally limiting availability of a physical release encourages purchases of the downloadable version. Far more profitable for the publisher: eliminates physical distribution costs, takes the possibility of a second hand sale out of the picture, etc. Especially in Japan where online purchases are less popular, the intentional “shortage” strategy is one way to push adoption of eShop purchases…

    • NeptuniasBeard

      Sorry, couldn’t hear you over the sound of me freaking out! I may have to buy from 10 different stores, just to play it safe

    • Jungo

      It’d be one thing if it was like 2 weeks before release and preorders jumped through the roof, but we’re still a solid 3 months out: if they can see that demand will be too high, then they be printing more.

      I feel like the only stat that really matters for releases is profit, but we’re never going to see a full breakdown like we’d really want to.

    • First of all, I’m deeply insulted that you would pass that comment, given that pains we’ve taken to get in touch with Media Create, maintain a close relationship with them, get private numbers when required, and put the data together.

      How do you know that retailers aren’t asking for a certain number of copies? How do you know if there are or aren’t issues with printing 3DS cartridges? This is hardly the first time we’ve seen shortages of 3DS games. How do you know if they aren’t certain how much to ship, because all they have to go on is estimates of past Etrian Odyssey games?

      It’s better to undership than to overship, and we’ve seen evidence of this time and again.

      If there’s one thing I’ve learnt while writing the sales column over the past four years, it’s that the industry is incredibly complicated. People don’t even consider factors such as differences in printing cost, royalty rates, retailer-specific relations and so on.

      Are there publishers that release bullshit numbers to make sales sound better than they are? Absolutely. I think the “copies shipped + downloaded” thing is stupid. Unfortunately, a lot of smaller companies do that, and ultimately it’s another form of data, which is why we report it.

      Don’t presume that you understand the workings of the market. It’s all well and good for you to sit up there on your high horse and talk down to people, but the fact of the matter is that your speculation comes off as both ill-informed and cynical in this case.

      • Noor Mahmoud

        As a game developer, I know first-hand how hard these things are. There isn’t a game developer who doesn’t want as many people as possible to play the game he has spent countless hours working on. And that process isn’t that simple as gamers would think. There are numerous steps that you can really only fully understand after a semester hitting the books in class on the subject and some real-life experience.

      • DAT Bird From DAT Cage

        ‘How do you know that retailers aren’t asking for a certain number of
        copies? How do you know if there are or aren’t issues with printing 3DS
        cartridges? This is hardly the first time we’ve seen shortages of 3DS
        games. How do you know if they aren’t certain how much to ship, because
        all they have to go on is estimates of past Etrian Odyssey games?’

        All these ‘how do you knows’. We probably DONT know, maybe you DO KNOW, maybe you DONT KNOW either, but the person is allowed to have his own opinion and regardless if YOU think its cynical, I’m sure others (myself included) feel differently about this.

        You have Atlus telling fans they feel ‘deeply’ for ‘shortages’. Looks like that ‘deep’ aint deep enough for them to bear the ‘risks’ of increasing production or any other complications occurring. I have also my set of questions for Atlus. I also have my set of ‘How do you knows.’

        A lot of industries and a lot of problems and issues in this world are arguably complicated and can be argued or seen from different perspectives. This is an honest reaction from a startled and concerning consumer. Think about it from their perspective.

        I do not agree with your comments referring to neo as sitting on some sort of higher moral ground. I am disappointed with your opinion on this and I do not share your views.

      • neo_firenze

        How about not presuming I *don’t* understand the market. I work in the business side of the software industry myself ;)

        Maybe I’m being a tad bit cynical here, but it’s my experience that a healthy dose of cynicism is very warranted when interpreting software companies’ public business comments. This particular example from Atlus just looks like a blatantly obvious attempt to drum up hype. It’s the same thing as the Gamestop clerk saying “YOU BETTER PREORDER “X” OR YOU MIGHT NOT BE ABLE TO FIND A COPY!”

        I’m not saying I know for sure all of the reasons, but I’m making an educated guess to speculate on what’s really happening. Maybe they just can’t get enough copies printed, that’s certainly not impossible. Some of your other examples are a stretch though. I find it hard to believe that profit-seeking retailers would be refusing to order enough copies to accommodate what they expect for demand. Royalty rates also should have little to do with it, both the publisher and the royalty holder WANT more copies sold: Publisher shouldn’t owe MORE in royalties than it costs to sell a copy of the software, and the royalty holder wants to get more units sold (resulting in more royalties to them).

        And using sell-through as a PR talking point as it has been used a lot lately is pretty disingenuous. Companies tend not to want to have consumers unable to buy their products, so if sell-through rate is extremely high it’s usually either (1) a bad estimate of demand (in which case you’re basically saying the publisher was incompetent about the market for their product), or (2) for some other reason (encouraging more profitable downloadable game sales is a painfully obvious possibility). You may be insulted by my skepticism, but frankly I’m a little insulted as a reader of Siliconera to see high sell-through numbers frequently used as a evidence of relative success of a game.

        I get WHY publishers would make these kinds of strategic marketing decisions, they’ll eliminate business risk any
        way they can. I don’t blame them for doing it. Sometimes making demand artificially high is good business (Nintendo sure did a masterful job of that with the Wii console for its first year or two). And encouraging digital distribution is a pretty great way to eliminate excess inventory risk! But
        let’s not ignore that there are motives behind these business

        • I’m not saying I know for sure all of the reasons, but I’m making an educated guess to speculate on what’s really happening.

          Your conspiracy theories aside, there are better ways to make a point than to insult a site that has done everything in its power to educate people about the business side of developing and publishing games in Japan. You’re barking up the wrong tree here.

          Also, regarding digital sales in Japan, I’m sure you don’t need me to point this out to you, but download sales don’t make up for lost retail sales. There is a large portion of the market that simply does not indulge in download sales. In fact, every bit of evidence suggests that download sales occupy a very small piece of the pie—often an average of 10% or so. Holding back retail copies is pointless. All it leads to is lost sales.

          • neo_firenze

            “In fact, every bit of evidence suggests that download sales occupy a very small piece of the pie—often an average of 10% or so. Holding back retail copies is pointless. All it leads to is lost sales.”

            Gotta start training consumers somewhere, why not with a game where there are strong indications of high demand that won’t disappear if the customers can’t grab a physical copy from the initial shipments? It’s not like they can’t ship more physical copies to retail post-launch to capture the people who refuse to try digital, so it may be a particularly good opportunity to under-ship at first and try to get some customers to give downloading a shot. It’s a small piece of the pie now, but any smart publisher certainly sees the incentives for building up that business model. If anything, I think it’s a rather forward-thinking thing to do from a publisher perspective.

            I do appreciate that you attempt to discuss some of the business realities of the industry. It’s clear you have good intent and put in a lot of effort. I don’t necessarily always agree with your analysis of the raw numbers though. Great thing about the blog format, others can give their perspective too.

          • I love discussing sales, marketing and other business-related stuff. It was just your jab at Siliconera that rubbed me the wrong way. You’re one of the few people here that normally does try to discuss things with a cool head, so I was just a little disappointed to see you pass that remark.

          • darke

            “Gotta start training consumers somewhere, why not with a game where there are strong indications of high demand that won’t disappear if the customers can’t grab a physical copy from the initial shipments?”

            That’s a great way to get people pissed off at your company and to think that you’re incompetent. Getting them to buy more digital, not so much. Just look at the whole EU/US PSN store disparity fiasco that annoys everyone and their dog. Or the region locked hardware which causes me not to buy any more Nintendo hardware after owning four different DS’s. Giving the customer a reason not to give you money is a bad idea.

            Generally punishing people for doing something doesn’t work nearly as good as rewarding them for *not* doing it. Sony seem to be going the right way with seemingly a standard practice that the digital copies are cheaper, along which (if I remember correctly) a new 8% discount if you’re a PS+ member on the JP PSN store anyway.

            They’re definitely fighting against the ‘otaku’ collector’s mindset though.

        • decus

          Or maybe Atlus has always had shortages like this since the 90s? Atlus fans have always known this, they’re just actually announcing it now since it’s a persona title and persona has gained a lot of new fans over the years, especially since this will be the first persona game on a nintendo console?

          Their stated reason for the announcement was people disappointed that they couldn’t just walk into the store and buy their games on release or within a week of release for past 3DS titles. Atlus is small-time. They have never risked over-shipping, even before digital download was a thing, and tend to only ship pre-orders+2 of their games to each retailer. Telling people to pre-order if they fall into that “disappointed in the past” camp is just an attempt at keeping customers happy. If they wanted to sell more digital copies, they wouldn’t have said anything, you know?

  • Matt

    Europe pls :(

    • Liamv2

      Silly boy. We all know that Japan hates Europe. *This is sarcasm before I get jumped on*

      • Matt

        Yeah, Japan doesn’t hate Europe.

        Atlus does.

        • Herok♞

          Indifference and hatred are two very different things. I think they just make all decisions without worrying about Europe. Like with the whole P4A thing I doubt they did it just to spite Europe.

    • Slickyslacker

      Ghostlight just isn’t large enough, unfortunately.

      • Noelemahc

        If Ghostlight’s half-replies to certain questions are to be believed, more than half the issues with Devil Survivor Overclocked’s EU release delays were due to ATLUS being slow to respond to certain requests (which was one of the reasons for the bugs which ultimately needed to be patched out).

  • MrJechgo

    Huh… is the game’s gonna be as serious/with that same serious tone as the other Persona games… or the chibi-like characters indicate a lighter, more comical one? I’m having trouble seeing characters Mitsuru or Naoto joke about anything.

    • God

      A little of both, you know how Disgaea (at least the original) only took itself seriously (But when it did, shit got SERIOUS) about 30% of the time? this game is gonna do the opposite and joke around a good 30% of the time, while taking itself seriously the other 70%.

  • LM009

    one word: preorder

    • AuraGuyChris

      Preorder is not a word, according to my spellchecker.

      • LM009

        gee u must be a real hoot at parties

      • Xerain

        I added “preorder” to my spellchecker, alongside “teleporter,” “unequip” and “anime,” among others.

  • Tincho Kudos

    Shouldn’t they ship more copies if thats what they are expecting?

    • Makar85

      hahaha my thoughts exactly.

    • That would make too much sense.

    • FitzpatrickPhillips

      Came in here to say the same thing lol

    • DarkLight

      Maybe they just want eveyone to pre-order?

    • CozyAndWarm

      I think it’s entirely about how many copies retailers order from Atlus. Atlus don’t dictate how many copies get shipped. At least I think this is how it works

      • This isn’t entirely true. It’s retailer-specific. Largers retailers have more of a say in the decision, whereas smaller ones don’t.

  • Rafael Fracaroli Tolentino

    I’m not a fan of Nintendo, in fact I’ve never had any of it’s hardware and I only played Goldeneye and Perfect Dark on a friend’s N64. But ever since the announcement of this game I’m really interested on buying a 3DS, because this game is all that I’ve ever wanted, a JRPG with both the cast of P3 and P4 together. This game is the dream of every Persona fan!!!

    • Kaetsu

      The majority of Nintendo systems don’t have good hardware. The value of a Nintendo system comes from the games.

      • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

        At least the broken rate is low though.^_^

      • ShawnOtakuSomething

        Nintendo’s hardware can take hits unlike the others >_>

    • CozyAndWarm

      If you’re a fan of Japanese games at all (which I assume you are if you’re browsing around Siliconera) you’d be doing yourself a great favor with a 3DS

      • Rafael Fracaroli Tolentino

        Yeah, I’m a huge fan of Japanese games. But the Nintendo consoles never raised my interest, as I was raised playing in SEGA consoles and then later both Sony and Microsoft. But now I think that the Xbox One really sucks and I’m starting to be interested on the 3DS. I’ll probably end up buying one when this game releases in the US…

  • AuraGuyChris

    Atlus is pretty confident to predict there will be shortages for a game series that hasn’t debuted on a Nintendo system.

    I don’t know whether to label them as master clairvoyants or suicidal people taking risks, but I guess it shall be put to test when the world outside of Japan gets the game.

  • Slickyslacker

    Of all of their games to sell out in a few weeks, EO: Untold is hardly one that comes to mind.

    This is at least one way to promote digital downloads. Moreover, I can’t envision droves of retailers clamoring for more physical copies of Persona Q: the demographic may be wide enough, but I don’t think looming shortages are sufficient to mandate more competition, in this case.

  • idrawrobots

    If a person knows they are going to buy a game in the first week they should preorder it. How else is a company going to gauge the interest? If you care about the game it helps everyone involved to preorder.

  • SetzerGabbiani

    If it’s a problem of production funds, their affiliation with SEGA SAMMY should alleviate some of this. No real excuse for this to be the case anymore.

    EDIT: Saw Ishaan’s rant below. I still feel like this should be less of an issue at this point unless funds have been pre-allocated…in that case…fine.

  • Nameless App 1989

    Won’t it hit the 3DS eShop?

  • revenent hell

    As soon as one is available I pre order any game I want and that’s just to be on the safe side.
    Though that doesn’t guarantee delivery on time but still I prefer a pre order to not having one.

  • Crevox

    They must have high expectations.They must have high expectations.

  • D. Collins

    You cocky cock!!

  • If shortages meant a high sales turn out, then good for Atlus. Then again, they should try to meet up high product demand in terms of quantity.

  • Noelemahc

    It still aggravates me greatly that ATLUS keeps ignoring Europe as a market.
    Going off the same logic that they use prior releases to gauge interest, their main problem in the DS era was that in the humongous delays between NA and EU releases of Etrian Odyssey, too many impatient people imported the game, which skewed both the NA sales stats and the EU sales stats later on.

  • ShawnOtakuSomething

    Perfectly cocky

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