Submitted by WizzroSupreme 165d ago | opinion piece

Region-Locking Isn't as Simple as You Think

The controversy surrounding region-locking video games is a complex one, and one that’s never helped consumer choice. I’m against it. I’d doubt any players are for it, and most tolerate it, and certainly no one saying it’s fair. At the same time, Nintendo’s reasons for locking down their own systems–and for quite a long time, mind you–may be no less valid. (3DS, GameCube, Nintendo, Nintendo DS, Wii, Wii U)

Yi-Long  +   165d ago
Nintendo might have their reasons, but their region-locked hardware certainly kept me from purchasing a WiiU last year when I was in Hong Kong, because I knew it would cause problems once I got back to Holland.

Also, I seriously doubt the 'problem' of people importing from the other side of the world, including all the extra costs and fees (import-tax, handling fees, shipping fees), is big enough to warrant region-locking in the first place.

Just keep it open, and only a select few who are extra motivated to go through all that trouble to import a game, for example because it's censored in 1 region, while uncensored in another, will do so.

Anyway, region-locking should disappear completely, as far as I'm (a potential) customer) concerned...
bjmartynhak  +   165d ago
Nomads of the world, unite!

Brazil-UK-Brazil-Sweden-Who knows...
DragonKnight  +   165d ago
I'm sorry but have to disagree entirely with this article. Nintendo is merely holding on to their Kyoto traditions. If you don't know what I mean, someone can explain this better than I but, there is a kind of stigma attached to old companies. Most of them are based in Kyoto, and almost all of them are slow to change. Their reluctance is like trying to move a skyscraper with your own strength.

The fact that Microsoft and Sony don't region lock pretty much eliminates the reasons of money and "work" for regional branches that was used in the article. Nintendo has been the only platform holder that has consistently, gen after gen, posted a profit up until now, whereas MS and Sony always initially post losses and eventually hope to post profits. This means Nintendo has always had room to be flexible, they simply never chose to whereas MS and Sony didn't, but have chosen to.

There is no legitimate reason to prevent gamers from being able to play games outside of their own country. It's a greedy move designed to get people to buy multiple copies of games if they are going to travel, and there are cases, such as happens quite frequently with Sega, where fans are punished by not getting a game because the company won't release it outside of Japan (for stupid reasons) and so they'd want to import, but region locking prevents that.

Gamers would have been willing to legitimately pay for the game even via imports in that example, but it's all in vain.

As for local laws and everything, Nintendo can't be held responsible for people who purchase products from outside of their country regardless of local rating laws, but I can definitely see them caring too much about their image.

TL;DR There's no legitimate reason to prevent gamers from being able to legitimately purchase and play games. Region locking is good for no one.
PinkEye  +   164d ago
Iwata. Enough said -_-.
lilbroRx  +   164d ago
Iwata doesn't design hardware.
thehobbyist  +   164d ago
Yes, blame everything on Iwata. Iwata is the cause for EVERYTHING Nintendo does wrong! Because he's CLEARLY the only one who makes ANY kinds of decisions at Nintendo!
#2.1.2 (Edited 164d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(1) | Report
admiralvic  +   164d ago
Yup. Some of my favorite Vita games have been things I've imported and I would probably buy another Vita* just so I can play things like Phantasy Star Nova. Especially since I have absolutely no faith in Sega bringing it over and am still waiting for Phantasy Star Online 2 to come over...

* I actually have a Japanese Vita, so I would sadly need a North American one if it was region locked. Y_Y
admiralvic  +   164d ago
Is this an article about Region-Locking or just someone looking to tell me that my opinion and choices don't matter because they deem them irrelevant?

Anyway, I couldn't disagree more with this article. For one thing, there are plenty of popular (albeit niche) games that never make it to the West, some of which have infinitely stronger following than the crap NISA / IF likes to publish. These are titles like Phantasy Star Nova, Phantasy Star Online 2, previous Miku titles (Sega apparently saw the light and is bringing them over now, but there were still 3 titles that never crossed over), Jump Super Stars, Jump Ultimate Stars (regarded as one of the best DS games, not that it matters), Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan, Taiko no Tatsujin series (I played this more than anything on my Japanese Wii, PSP and DS), God Eater 2, many Gundam titles (some of which were actually good), Captain Rainbow, several Monster Hunter titles (or at least the PS3 version of 3), various Tales titles, multiple Yakuza (Ryu ga Gotoku) titles and many more. Admittedly most of these I can play because the DS (and all previous Nintendo portable systems were region free), PS3 / 4 / PSP and Vita are region free, but these are a lot of strong titles I would be completely unable to play if I didn't have a Japanese system. I mean, these might not mean much to you, but there are many people on this site that would kill for a English release of Phantasy Star or Yakuza 5.

With that being said, I also think your two points sort of run against one another. If this stuff is so trivial like you make it out to be, then what difference does it make if someone is well aware they can simply import it? Especially since importing has steep fees, low resale value and a significantly smaller base due to the limitations (such as the ability to read Japanese). Furthermore, many people make this a big issue because it's actually shockingly easy to implement and wouldn't require a lot of effort to do so. If memory serves, all they would need to do is either add the drive codes to the existing set or more likely simply enable them.
GMW  +   164d ago
The world is a global village now, thanks to the internet. People talk to each other and travel more. So region locking is something that doesn't make sense in today's world.

My main reason of detesting region locking is that I travel around the world a lot. So if I'm in the U.K. when a new game launches I'd rather buy it there. Why am I being restricted to buy from my own country. Plus let's not mention the huge market in third world countries that would afford to buy new games but due to lack of proper distribution and crazy pricing thanks to local government tax policies, few games ever get sold.
#4 (Edited 164d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(1) | Report | Reply
OtakuDJK1NG  +   164d ago
I am not against or for it. I just dont care.

But if region free what the point of having international version or firm.
#5 (Edited 164d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(3) | Report | Reply
thehobbyist  +   164d ago
If it's region free they make the international version so you can have the version with the language you speak/read in it.

Firmware is usually released in the native country first because:
A) Closer to servers
B) If something in the firmware breaks the console, they haven't just subjected the entire world to it's horror and can fix it before sending it out internationally.

Add in the fact that I can import a game without having to pay hundreds to import another console and it's abundantly clear that region free is the way to be.
#5.1 (Edited 164d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(1) | Report | Reply
TWB  +   164d ago
I can kinda agree with the article that benefits of not region locking are very mininal but still, so are the downsides.

For old consoles this is a huge problem (atleast now) though, maybe it will also be the case for WiiU in the future too ? It would be far easier to find a game from multiple regions than from your own region.
DualWielding  +   164d ago
I live in Australia, I have a PS3 and Vita and buy all my games from the US PSN at less than half the cost of buying in the Australian PSN or at an Australian retailer.... With my 3DS I cannot do that because its region locked.. I can only buy from UK Eshop which is cheaper than Australian but much more expensive than US.... the result, I buy fewer 3DS games and would not even consider buying a Wii U
thehobbyist  +   164d ago
You do know that lying about your geographical location to avoid tax on sales is illegal, right?
DualWielding  +   164d ago
No one is lying about his physical location, the PSN is region free and you can make an account from any country, what matters is your nationality not where you are. However, Nintendo forces you to lie, if you are an American and have a PAL Wii U or 3DS there is no way to register an American account on it even if you are in the U.S.

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