Nintendo Continues Its Policy Of Region Locking Games With The WiiU

September 24, 2012 -

I think I need a daisy for this. I seem to have entered a loop of "Nintendo loves me. It loves me not." While I am still excited for the coming release of the WiiU console, I am disheartened by the company's most recent news. It will continue its policy of region locking games.

Nintendo's confirmation followed a translated revelation in Japanese magazine Famitsu: "What can be played on the Wii U is restricted by a region-lock feature; software not sold in the same region cannot be played."

You may remember the trouble Nintendo had last year when it refused to release several games in the US that Japanese and European gamers were enjoying. Because the Wii was region locked, importing the games was not a simple proposition. While some gamers resorted to importing and then soft modding their console in order to bypass the region lock, many others campaigned under the banner of Operation Rainfall in order to get official releases of The Last Story and Xenoblade Chronicles. 

One would think that Nintendo would have learned from that ordeal and would have instead adopted policies that would mitigate the need for such fan action. Instead, Nintendo has placed itself in a position where consumers will no doubt have to resort to the same actions to get some games in the US and other regions. 

- E. Zachary Knight

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Comments

Re: Nintendo Continues Its Policy Of Region Locking Games ...

Up through the PS2, you could defeat Region Locking without modding your console with a GameShark, a plastic card, and some clever work with a set of scissors.

Coincidentally, the PS2 is the last time I cared about console gaming. These days, I stick to PC gaming.

----
Papa Midnight

Re: Nintendo Continues Its Policy Of Region Locking Games ...

How would they go about doing this from the system itself when each game would have to be rated for each possible region in case it is used on a foreign system?  This would be adding extra cost to every title even if they are never intended to be released outside of said territory.  I agree that I would love to be able to openly play games from over-seas as I did with my Gameboy systems and DS as well.  They could just drop it all together, but then they would lose the selling point to parents of the built in controls for whatever games they play. I'm curious (and will look more into it) on what the policy is for the PS3/PSP/Vita which were not completely region locked UNLESS the developer made it so for their individual titles.  

Just playing devils advocate to keep the conversation moving along. :)

Zen aka Jeremy Powers
Editor and Host of the Zenspath Podcast (now on iTunes)
www.ZensPath.com
XBL: "PsychoticZen" PSN: "Zenspath"
Nintendo Network: "Psychoticzen", 3DS: "0860-3238-7260

Re: Nintendo Continues Its Policy Of Region Locking Games ...

For the most part, ratings are fairly interchangeable. So it would not be difficult to look at the rating code on the disk and apply that using the local region's ratings.

Or, they could go with something like what the PS3 did and instead of tying it to a specific ratings system, it was based on scale. 

As Andrew suggested, add an additional feature to allow for parents to block out of region disks. Not sure if I would go for that, but it is an option.

Re: Nintendo Continues Its Policy Of Region Locking Games ...

"Or, they could go with something like what the PS3 did and instead of tying it to a specific ratings system, it was based on scale."

Hopefully they'd do one better than that arbitrary number scale the PS3 uses.  Seriously, what ratings does level 5 block?  I don't know about anyone else but I'd have to look that up.  I'd suggest an age scale.  If Mom selects age 16, all ratings recommended for ages 16 and above would be blocked: ESRB M and AO, PEGI 16 and 18, and CERO D(17) and Z(18).  Simple.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Nintendo Continues Its Policy Of Region Locking Games ...

"How would they go about doing this from the system itself when each game would have to be rated for each possible region in case it is used on a foreign system?"

It wouldn't.  If it's not sold in North America, it doesn't require an ESRB rating even if it's bought and played by a North American.

"They could just drop it all together, but then they would lose the selling point to parents of the built in controls for whatever games they play."

They wouldn't.  The consoles already have parental controls for each region's rating system.  A region free player could simply allow parents the ability to access those controls.  Hell, region locking could be designated as a parental control.

On the other hand, how many kids young enough for anyone to care what they're playing are actually importing games from overseas?

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Nintendo Continues Its Policy Of Region Locking Games ...

Another reason (beyond the aforementioned business practices) is the fact of systems now having parental controls built into them that are not level across the board from region to region.  What is M here may be rated differently in another location, and trying to set what is "equal" to another location would be a nightmare.  Between the US, Japan, and Europe alone there would be 3 different systems to work around (ESRB, PEGI, & CERO), with each title having to be rated for each service just in case it was played in another regions hardware.  I don't like the idea of region locking either, but I do understand the reasons behind having to do it as well sometimes.

Zen aka Jeremy Powers
Editor and Host of the Zenspath Podcast (now on iTunes)
www.ZensPath.com
XBL: "PsychoticZen" PSN: "Zenspath"
Nintendo Network: "Psychoticzen", 3DS: "0860-3238-7260

Re: Nintendo Continues Its Policy Of Region Locking Games ...

That could be handled on the WiiU side of things though. No reason to make that a reason to keep region locks.

Re: Nintendo Continues Its Policy Of Region Locking Games ...

Saw this coming from a mile away. Yes it sucks that the WiiU will be region locked but at the same time people will always find a way around these pesky things.

Re: Nintendo Continues Its Policy Of Region Locking Games ...

I I see now its that 60$(120 elsewhere) price point you want to protect........


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

---

http://zippydsm.deviantart.com/

Re: Nintendo Continues Its Policy Of Region Locking Games ...

(Posting in the correct article this time)

Maybe I'm missing something, but what purpose does region locking a game even serve?

 

I mean, if they don't think certain games will sell well in the US, than sure don't spend the money on marketing, production and transportation costs.  But why not even give the option for the US audience to bear those costs themselves (shipping from Europe)?  Going to the extra expense of region locking everything only costs you money, doesn't save any.

Re: Nintendo Continues Its Policy Of Region Locking Games ...

A fairly good reason to region lock your games is to avoid your target audience from buying the games at a lower price in other regions. If you could force your audience to buy your games for 50% more than other regions, wouldn't you?

---You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

Re: Nintendo Continues Its Policy Of Region Locking Games ...

I guess I just didn't realize there was that much of a disparity in pricing between regions.

Re: Nintendo Continues Its Policy Of Region Locking Games ...

That is the only reason that makes sense on a business front. However, the number of people who will import all their games from a cheaper region compared to those who will buy locally is marginal at best. 

On the consumer side, this policy means that it will be more difficult to get and play obscure games that do not get a local port. That is what created the Operation Rainfall movement. I can see more of that happening now.

Re: Nintendo Continues Its Policy Of Region Locking Games ...

Well, Atlus thought it was enough of a threat to region lock P4 Arena.

---You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

Re: Nintendo Continues Its Policy Of Region Locking Games ...

Like I said, region locking has clear business motivations, but those do not often, if ever, align with consumer expectations.

Re: Nintendo Continues Its Policy Of Region Locking Games ...

Times like this, I suspect Nintendo wants us to mod their products.

If so, I wish they'd leak some data to the guys trying to make a working flashcart for the 3DS to help speed things along..

 
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