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Submitted by GoldenElf 875d ago | opinion piece

Why Region Locking is Good for Video Games

Tynan Muddle at writes: "While usually unpopular to certain groups of gamers, region locking on a video game console can actually be a good thing.

A region lock on a video game console is any method the manufacturer uses to prevent international games playing on local system. This can be done on either the software or the hardware level and is usually a permanent feature once the console ships.

Region locking is not a new phenomenon, nor is is assigned exclusively to video games. DVD players, BluRay players and even printers have region lockout chips built into them, preventing international use outside the country they were purchased in." (3DS, Nintendo DS, PC, PS3, Wii U, Xbox 360)

nick309  +   875d ago
It is not good to region lock consoles. Alot of people know a few languages and not just 1. Nintendo need to do something about this in the next few years, i like their games but i wont get 2 3ds's just to play ace attorney vs layton in Japanese.
#1 (Edited 875d ago ) | Agree(43) | Disagree(4) | Report | Reply
Pope_Kaz_Hirai_II  +   875d ago
there is no possible positive spin you can put on region locking its just bad and gamers dont want it.
ChickeyCantor  +   875d ago
It comes down to marketing and profit. It's that simple.

And not to be that guy but only a handful of people actually import games. It's never been an issue to me nor all the people I know.

Personally i'm not convinced as to why this is an issue to a larger group, even though i'm sure most of them never really cared.
TongkatAli  +   875d ago
Sidar why do you care about the safety of Nintendo not being even more filthy rich. Who cares, they should be your b**** not the other way around.

People want to import those Japanese 3DS games.Do you guys always have to go after the little guys for wanting something to be free.

You know the word free is a good thing right ?
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Qrphe  +   875d ago
There is no possible way it can be good for the consumer. It may be good for a company but we don't care about that (just like DRM or used-game policies may be), we're the consumer, our perspective is the one that is important here.
Dj7FairyTail  +   875d ago
then Xenoblade would had never came over, Tales of Xillia would had never came sooner, Then US and EU sales and profit will suffer also prevents localization in the future from Japanese Studios and Publishers.
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Skizelli  +   875d ago
A friend of mine recently traded his Turbo Express for a North American Turbo Duo in hopes to play his copy of Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, only to realize it was region locked (something that didn't occur to him at the time). There's nothing remotely good about region locking in the grand scope of things.
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badz149  +   875d ago
who ever try to defend region locking
is either dumb or Nintendo whore!

1. region lock - "doesn't bother me anyway as I don't import". you don't like options? good, keep being a sheep then!

2. no online MP - "doesn't matter as MP games are fun/meant to be played with friends on the same couch". what about giving out options for those who have friends everywhere else? it's freaking 2013, WAKE THE HELL UP!
stuna1  +   875d ago

Just look at it from this point, suppose a next gen console that you're pretty stoked to have, but you find out close to release that it'll be skipping your region altogether, what would you do!? That is all the reason to import.

Best believe pier 2 Xbox supporters will be importing too.
Bereaver  +   875d ago
There is ONE positive spin to region locking.

It helps keep costs low in countries that want to buy games but can't afford them. If I lived in a low income country I wouldn't mind having a game half price of what America gets it for.

Help the needy.
But I still don't agree with region locking.
InTheLab  +   874d ago
I read through that and failed to see how Region locking benefits all. Can anyone explain?
ChickeyCantor  +   874d ago
"Sidar why do you care about the safety of Nintendo not being even more filthy rich. Who cares, they should be your b**** not the other way around.

I don't care for their safety. It's simply is what it is. People ask why we have region locks. It's part of a business model. Just stating as it is.

As a dutch person I know all about "free".
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dlocsta  +   874d ago
The problem with gamers is we think the world revolves around us. Who cares what gamers want (that is my MBA speaking). This is a business industry. And like any other business the only rule that matters is profitability. The more the better. One of the main reasons Sony does better outside the US than Microsoft is the regional locking. It makes for fans that love you but you have to answer to shareholders. And for all of you out there that think the fans have a bigger voice than shareholders your are nothing less that delusional. At the end of the day if the sharesholders are not happy there won't be a company, fans or no fans, to worry about. How may fans are shareholders? Until you (fans) are you really need to shut the hell up because all of your ranting and raving won't change a thing. You think your complaining made MS change the X1? Get real! They performed a market analysis, analized the lost revenue do to lower than expected sales and changed the policy. Your words meant nothing. You not buying means everything. In short stop trying to talk about these things like rants make a difference. All they do is stir up fanboys (anyone who critisizes because it is not their "favorite" console).
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rainslacker  +   874d ago

The Turbo Duo(or any TG-CD variant) is not region locked for CD's. The Hu-Cards did have a different pin out, but there are several adapters that exist, or there is a switch mod available if he's technically minded.

Rondo of Blood plays perfectly find on a NA Turbo Duo.
#1.1.12 (Edited 874d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(0) | Report
Skizelli  +   873d ago

He's ridiculously technically minded, so I don't think it's something he'd get wrong or misunderstand. However, you seem to be right from what I've managed to dig up on it. He specifically told me it had a region lockout on it and that he'd have to mod the console to get around it, so I don't know what the issue is if that's the case.

Thanks for the info. I relayed it back to him.
#1.1.13 (Edited 873d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(0) | Report
Skizelli  +   873d ago
Turns out he didn't do any research and just assumed it was region locked because his disc would boot up to a black screen.
tarbis  +   875d ago
Don't think Ninty will do away their region locking when they can get more profits from selling both U.S. and Japan version from 1 gamer.
laura13mitzel   875d ago | Spam
avengers1978  +   874d ago
Um no it is not... That's why other consoles and handhelds are region free.
It be different if every game came out in every country, but they dont
GeisT  +   874d ago
If any of you have ever played any MOBA especially DOTA or DOTA 2 you know that region locking is the best thing ever. Trying to work with a team when you have a language and cultural barrier is less than fun.
nick309  +   874d ago
Same in the last of us and many other multiplayer games. I hear people speaking french and spanish , russian etc.
PopRocks359  +   875d ago
While I would say the issue is at times overblown, I really do not see the overall benefits of region locking for any big gamer.
#2 (Edited 875d ago ) | Agree(8) | Disagree(2) | Report | Reply
DragonKnight  +   875d ago
"Why region locking is good for corporations"

That's the real title.

Region locking is not good. Period.

I would love to ask the author of this article how he/she justifies region locking that denies gamers the chance to play games in regions where the publishers refuse to sell them. The Tales games is a perfect example of this. How many of those games never left Japan because the publisher felt that the sales wouldn't be worth it? Why should people who would legitimately buy the game be punished by a business decision that didn't take them into consideration?

Region locking is about greed and control. That's all. And it's very ironic that this is coming from an Australian site. Try asking some Aussies if they'd rather pay $100 or pay less even after importing the game. I would think that most would say "pay less."
McScroggz  +   875d ago
I forgot about that, A LOT of Australians import games from Asia.......

Very strange indeed DK.
TongkatAli  +   875d ago
Yeah and know they're delusional to even say they like it or don't. You have no choice, anyways. You better like it.

Some games are so fun you don't need to know the language. You can simply play it for the gameplay, look up guides and go through trial and error.
#3.2 (Edited 875d ago ) | Agree(5) | Disagree(1) | Report | Reply
ShaunCameron  +   875d ago
You know businesses are well within their rights to sell it whoever they want, right? They own the merchandise.

<Why should people who would legitimately buy the game be punished by a business decision that didn't take them into consideration?>
DragonKnight  +   874d ago
Wow, sticking up for region locking. I'm sure Nintendo will throw you a parade.
GeisT  +   874d ago
Whenever I play DOTA 2 and have 3rd worlders on my team who fail really hard they always say "I'm lagging" maybe if they played with people in their own region then they wouldn't "lag" as bad.
NYC_Gamer  +   875d ago
Its all greed because it stops consumers from having the option of importing products/saving some coin
Dj7FairyTail  +   875d ago
it prevents localization. look at Tales of Xillia
McScroggz  +   875d ago
No it doesn't o.0

Where do you get this strange conclusion from?
Dj7FairyTail  +   875d ago
yes it does. If their a large number of imported games then localization will take long or wont exist.
grimmweisse  +   875d ago
No it doesn't, if enough people show interest in the game, hence import, then there is a chance it might get localised. Demons Souls is a perfect example!

Region locking is an old business practice of controlling the market that has outstayed it's welcome.
Hicken  +   874d ago
Yea, it's really the exact opposite.

If Namco saw a significant number of games were being imported, they'd be more inclined to localize the game, banking on the idea that even more people would buy it if it were available in their region, and in their own language.

But if your system is region-locked, you're actually locking yourself out of sales, and not too many people are going to buy a completely separate console for their imported games.

Hell, it may not be a lot. Maybe a few hundreds or even tens of thousands. But it's more than they'd otherwise get.
Qrphe  +   874d ago
Basically, you don't know what you're talking about

Do read Hicken's post
McScroggz  +   875d ago
I swear, I wonder if I have ever agreed with a story from this site.

On topic, there is literally no good reason to region lock a console. It's certainly not a huge issue, but it is great to have the option to import a game that may never see an official release for your country. There are even some games, though fairly rare, that have English subtitles.

But I digress, another disagree from me aussie-gamer.
UNGR  +   875d ago
Australian gamers get the shaft at every turn. Never defend this shenanigans, gamers should be treated equally, no matter where they're from.
#6 (Edited 875d ago ) | Agree(9) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
TongkatAli  +   875d ago
The sad thing is they say you're the minority who cares and what they don't realize is that they treat people like numbers, who cares what you want. You're a low number and not important.
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UNGR  +   875d ago
I'm in Canada, I'm doesn't effect me. I personally find it disgusting because we should all be treated equally.
ShaunCameron  +   875d ago
So do Brazilians, Latin Americans and others who live in minor gaming markets.

It isn't Nintendo's fault that they live in countries that overcharge and tax them up the you-know-what for just about everything, and restrict whatever they're legally allowed to get to local (read: government-approved) suppliers.
ScubaSteve1  +   875d ago
So how am I suppose to play a game that won't come out to America? That is why I import a game and I don't see why Nintendo sees the logic in this.
Dj7FairyTail  +   875d ago
wait for localization
knifefight  +   875d ago
Yakuza Kenzan
Yakuza 5
Valkyria Chronicles 3
Tales of Vesperia Enhanced PS3 Edition
Mother 3
Nier Replicant
Romancing SaGa
Venus and Braves
Final Fantasy Type-0
Monster Hunter 3 HD (PS3)
Monter Hunter Portable 3
Fantasy Life
All those Fairy Tail games on PSP.
Basically every Inazuma Eleven game outside of the first one.
Final Fantasy XII International: Zodiac Job System
Seiken Densetsu III
Tomodachi Collection
Akiba's Trip
Napple Tale
Tales of Destiny 2
Tales of Rebirth
I could go on and on.

Yeah so ah..."wait for localization" eh?

You realize he said "Games that won't come out to America" right. Because not all of them do.
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Dj7FairyTail  +   875d ago
Get Tales of Vesperia on 360
Tomodachi collection will get localize Reggie already confirmed that
Play Monster Hunter on Wii, Wii U or 3DS.

Japanese Developers and Publishers has said time to time that localizing a game is risky because of the saales or profit that wont big. Reason Monster Hunter left PSP in favor of 3DS.
knifefight  +   875d ago
First off, the 360 version of Vesperia is vastly inferior to the PS3 version. Second, the solution should never be "Buy a whole new system." Yes, let's all go buy a new console so that we can play the inferior version of something. That's pretty stupid.

Monster Hunter Portable 3 is not on Wii, WiiU, or 3DS. That's Monster Hunter Tri, a completely different game. That's like telling someone to "Just play FFXIII" because they want to play FFIX. Um, different games.

Cool about Tomodachi Collection. Enjoy the wait time ;)

Finally, you've only addressed like 4 games out of well over 20 that I named (and even more that I could). You're not really convincing anyone here.
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aaron5829  +   875d ago
when i first got my ps3 years ago... i wanted to buy f1 championship edition by Sony... but its sold out everywhere... the only version thats available is the japanese version... i bougt it and never regretted it. Guess i wouldnt be able to play that game if the ps3 was region locked. so.. no... region locking is bad... no two ways
Kryptix  +   875d ago
Region locking is never good for gaming. There are games that get censored in certain countries and then there are games that never get published into other countries. Like there are Japanese games that people want imported to their country in English but it never happens. So gamers get those games shipped out to them and still play them in Japanese. Plus some have English subtitles or language settings, so it all works out at the end. Also in Australia, rated M games are very censored and the only way to get the full, true game, they need to import them. If you like freedom in everything, don't support region locking.
MultiConsoleGamer  +   875d ago
No, it's not. It only encourages things like piracy. Sell your games to everyone, everywhere.
ShaunCameron  +   875d ago
Then explain the DS and the PSP, both of which were region-FREE.
MultiConsoleGamer  +   874d ago
And both had a healthy import market.
ShaunCameron  +   873d ago
And both had high amounts of piracy.
Kevlar009  +   875d ago
Didn't some people use similar language regarding DRM and used game sales? While it's possible to spin a positive out of it, at what cost to the overall benefit of gamers does it bring? While region locking benefits the manufacturers and publishers directly, the benefits we gain are hard to find, let alone if they even exist.

I find it odd systems have region locking in the first place. You would think consoles would be made to run any game made for the system, even if you had to deal with the games native language. There must be some code voodoo that resticts games from certain regions, the extent of which it takes to bypass it is unknown to me

Sony systems are region free (PS3/4 Vita), they look to be a good contender for the benefits with or without region locking.
clevernickname  +   875d ago
It's interesting that globalization is only supposed to work for corporations and not consumers.
hazelamy  +   875d ago
i'd have thought the last person to defend region locking would be an Australian gamer.

how many games simply don't get released there, or get released months late and totally watered down.

and the piracy defence?
region locking does not stop piracy.

the console that probably suffered least from piracy this gen was the PS3, a machine that had no region locks.
sadly it's still possible, but it's not as common as on the other two consoles.

in fact i have no doubt region locks increase piracy.

one of the big reason why people pirate games, after thinking they shouldn't have to pay for them, is lack of availability.

if they don't provide a legal means to get the games, many people will find less legal means.

pirates will pirate anyway, but by denying otherwise law abiding gamers any other way to get the games, some will resort to piracy.

in an age where these titles, being all digital, can be sent around the world in seconds, region locking is an anachronism, a dinosaur, a relic of a time gone by.

the one game that did use region locking on PS3, it was done so to force certain regions to pay much higher prices, and that was the same publisher worldwide.
so the whole, different publisher in different regions line is moot here.
bjmartynhak  +   875d ago
And there is the people that moved out from one region to other.

Either they start importing from the previous region or buy a new console to be able to play the new games (but will also need to keep the old console to play the already owned games).
DivineHand125  +   875d ago
I can think of only think of a few good reasons why region locking is good for gaming.

1) The game might have licensed content that is not owned by the publisher. For example it might have Marvel or DC characters or Music in there that is licensed per region the game is released in. So if the publisher allowed the copies to be sold outside the region, they could get into trouble from the copyright holders.

2) It could affect the viability releasing the game in other regions. Say game X was released in Japan and it would take 6 months to a year to have it localized for the west. If a huge fraction of the potential buyers choose to import the game so they could play it early then it might cause the publisher to cancel the western version or run them in the red.

Region locking might not be as bad as many of you would want to believe because I believe there are some companies that have good intentions when they do it. For example Pokemon red and blue were different from their Japanese counter parts where the US version had improved graphics and most of the game breaking bugs were removed. Through region locking, the publishers and the developers can take advantage of it and iron out the problems before it gets released in other markets
#15 (Edited 875d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(3) | Report | Reply
FantasyStar  +   875d ago
I want to add to this that regions like Australia, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Russia, UK, and Japan have their own laws regarding video-game classification. A game may be banned on the basis of it being too violent. Publishers could get into legal-trouble on behalf of the importers' negligence.
FantasyStar  +   875d ago
I like how pro-consumer N4G has become now. Back when EA introduced their Online Passes: N4G was a hivemind for the corporate shills. But I like this hivemind better.
Dan50  +   875d ago
Region free games help fight censorship and price gouging.
dennett316  +   874d ago
Helps to discourage piracy and the modification of consoles as well. Any official sale is better than seeing a consumer have to open up the road to piracy in order to play a game they want. Some companies (Nintendo....I love ya, but get with the damn times) are very set in their ways, and don't realise that their inaction could lead to greater losses down the line than a single sale of a game in a region.
young7yang  +   874d ago
I own about 60 ps3 games.. 3/4 of them are imports.

no joke!

yakuza kenzen, yakuz5, gundam extreme vs, A.C.E R, hokuto no musou, tales of xillia, tales of xillia 2 and tales of vasperia to name a few.. I am in impatient person and do not like to wait 3 years to play a game..
tigertron  +   874d ago
One does not simply justify region locking...
dennett316  +   874d ago
There is no solid justification for region locking. It promotes the idea of piracy because certain games seem to take forever to be localised, if they ever are at all. There's cases of Wii RPG's that are released in Europe, but not the US, despite the English localisation being completed. How can it possibly be a good thing to restrict people from importing games they want to play, when you have no intention of releasing in a particular market, or take a stupidly long time to get a game localised?

Anything that restricts consumer choice is NEVER a good thing, and the reasons given in the article are weak at best. One of the examples was about PAL localisation ironing out a glitch in a Metroid game? That's a terrible justification for region locking, utterly terrible. It only benefits the publishers, who enjoy being able to keep prices artificially high in regions like Australia (can't believe he used that as a legit defence of region locking...claiming that Australians being railroaded into accepting high prices is a positive? What a tool!).
level 360  +   874d ago
Region locking is one big piece of horse dung. That article is such a humongous baloney.

Live here in Australia and besides gaming, love to watch my usual Blu Ray movies.

I tell you new/almost new Blu Ray film and even games cost about twice as much here as compared abroad. Which is why to save in costs' and shipping I usually bulk buy from overseas.

Noticed my PS3 will *only read a multi-region film-based disc if it's somewhat connected/affiliated to any Sony film studio outfit. Overseas games are no problem.

Got me a Toshiba 3D Blu Ray player which actually reads all multi-region disc, best thing about this player is that it comes with it's own easy-to-read region unlocking manual.
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stubbed_out  +   874d ago
I can't buy into the notion that having localised content is a benefit of region locking; you're saying all these publishers can help sell a game in a country with different copyright laws due to being 'lost in translation', and that these publishers only pop up because of the appearance of region locking - that is absurd!

It's easy enough to not sell a game in another country if it fails their copyright standards but an outright lock achieves absolutely nothing for consumers. If a game can't be sold in a particular country and the publisher in the origin country is not able to sell abroad there's nothing stopping them from handing it off to be localised. An outright lock is simply egregious.

Finally what happened to the art form, maybe not everyone wants localised content?

Region locking is good for two things, screwing over consumers through tight price controls & a prohibitive user experience for those interested in what lies beyond their borders, and undermining the efficiency of what smarter, more sustainable technology is able to provide.
stragomccloud  +   874d ago
Well, if all games released in all regions, then we wouldn't care about region locking in the first place. But this is not the case.

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