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Nintendo Continues To Support Region-Locking, Le Sigh

Posted on Wednesday, July 3 @ 16:52:22 Eastern by

Despite being taken from an interview conducted before the "Xbox 180" and before this Change.org petition signed by 15,800+ fans urging Nintendo to make the Wii U and 3DS region-free, just as the Wii and DS are, IGN has reiterated a message by Nintendo global president Satoru Iwata: NO!

Okay, he didn't really say that. What he said was more tempered than that:

From some people's perspective, it might seem like a kind of restriciton. However, we hope people can appreciate the fact that we're selling out products worldwide.

There are many different regions around the world, and each region has its own cultural acceptance and legal restrictions, as well as different age ratings. There are always things that we’re required to do in each different region, which may go counter to the idea that players around the world want the freedom to play whatever they want.

I hope that game fans can understand that the industry isn't doing this solely out of business ego. There are some reasons behind it.

Wait... if it's not "solely out of business ego," did he just admit that a part of the reason for region-locking is "business ego"? Hmm...

When dealing with the issue of region-locking, an unhealthy portion of users either don't know or don't care because it doesn't affect them. They don't intend to purchase anything outside of their region anyway. But just because it doesn't affect you personally, doesn't mean it won't affect someone else. I have gaming friends who can read Japanese just fine, so why force them to buy multiple consoles?

And therein lies the so-called "reason": pricing. Nintendo would rather see people who can read foreign languages, travel abroad with a handheld, and serve in the military pay for multiple copies and consoles rather than making the 3DS and Wii U region-free. More than that, they want to make sure that people can't import much cheaper versions of titles from other regions, especially in one where a game is released earlier than another. It's all about the money, Lebowski!

Really, all that needs to be done to get rid of region-locking is an update that makes the parental controls restrict imports by default but allow users to turn it off. Let the ratings board, the differental national governements, and the parents decide on whether the content of a game is suitable.

Region-locking should not be a next-gen feature. The Xbox One will be region-free. The PS4 will also be region-free. The PlayStation Vita is currently region-free. Microsoft and Sony can handle the situation just fine. Nintendo should too.
Tags:   Nintendo, Wii U, 3DS
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