There are some realities that, despite their annoyances, are part of the typical life of a Nintendo gamer. For the second home console generation in a row Nintendo's offering is less powerful — in terms of raw graphical processing — than its direct upcoming competitors in the PS4 and Xbox One, with a focus on innovation and a unique control scheme being the order of the day. Once again third-parties will come and go, and Wii U will in all likelihood be defined, arguably just like the Wii before it, by the high profile first-party releases that the big N provides.
Another common reality is that there'll be intriguing games released earlier or exclusively in Japan, with localisation taking a significant amount of time or, in the worst cases, not coming at all. Perhaps there'll be more campaigns like Operation Rainfall, a movement that tried — and succeeded, depending on how much success you attribute to the group — to pressurise Nintendo of America to release a trilogy of fascinating Japanese titles in the region. There are importing options, of course, but if you want to play Japanese games you need a system from the region, necessitating a serious investment.
Nintendo's rivals have employed region locking to various degrees — the Xbox 360 is region-locked, while most PS3 games work across regions, with the only significant issue arising with needing to buy regional DLC to match the retail game's area. As the first of the 'big three' manufacturers to release a new system, Nintendo stuck with its region locking policy, separating PAL regions, North America and Japan with restrictions to prevent cross-compatibility of software. "Boo hiss", many likely thought, but as a fact of life it may have been dismissed with a shrug, and like with the 3DS we sit back and cross fingers hoping for swift worldwide localisations.
But now Sony and, belatedly, Microsoft have come to town and ditched region locking. It may have slipped notice due to the farcical issues of DRM and online requirements — the Sony 'boasts' and Microsoft's reverse on keystone One policies have been bizarre, even in the context of the games industry — but both of the upcoming systems will be region free. Which makes sense, because the global community has never been so connected, with social networks and the internet as a whole taking down barriers between cultures. Separate systems and games for each region are a relic of 2012, because let's face it, what was standard a matter of months ago can be downright backwards today; the modern age waits for nothing.
So when the PS4 and Xbox One launch later this year, the Wii U will be the only one of the three that is region locked; while hardly a concern for a lot of consumers, there'll be a group of keen gamers for whom that certainly matters. For fans of the Japanese games industry, in particular, the PS4 will surely be particularly attractive, and we know from experience with the 3DS — as a recent example — how many desirable games can seem out of reach. Many of us here on Nintendo Life will be beholden to the localisation efforts of our respective Nintendo regional offices, while PS4 or One owners can buy any game they want, with import postage costs being the only real barrier. Sucks to be U.
The question is whether Nintendo will change its policy, with the assumption — which we don't claim with authority or 100% confidence — that the region locking on Wii U is a firmware affair. We know of development Wii U units that simply switch between PAL and NTSC formats with a simple selection, suggesting that it's in the operating system software rather than any physical differences between regional systems. Is that the same in retail units? As we've suggested, we wouldn't definitively make any claims on that, but we'd be surprised if the region locking was more than an application of certain 'rules' in code, even if retail discs have a related identifier that's triggered in the console.
If that's the case, it's possible that a system update could, in theory, remove region locking in one swoop. Advocates would also like the same to potentially happen with the 3DS, though we'd throw out a cautionary note that, in comparison to the Wii U, the portable system's infrastructure is likely to be more primitive. Again, though, perhaps an end to region locking could only be a system update away.
That's all speculation, and you've better odds of buying a 3DS in an Apple store than actually getting firm details in an official statement from Nintendo, which is understandable in terms of pure business. Yet while the technicalities and details will be in Nintendo's vaults until a prospective dreamy day when an update suddenly removes these restrictions, there are fans that believe the power is in the company's hands to roll back its region locking policies. Well known NeoGaf user Cheesemeister published a lengthy post following E3 that outlines the campaigns to pressurise Nintendo into dropping region locking. Neutral communities on Miiverse have seen a number of posts on the topic, there's a pre-prepared letter to send to Nintendo electronically or in standard mail, and there's even an online petition, though it's currently well short of the required 10,000 signatures. It's not a full-on revolution of Nintendo gamers, but there are some early hints of rebellion.
The anti-region locking argument is ultimately about consumer choice. The enforcement of region-specific content gives Nintendo — and other publishers on its systems — a greater degree of control over content, managing the image and 'message' of the consoles and their libraries. Being region free leaves gamers to play whatever they want, and gives that choice — you could import a Japanese game and get utterly baffled, but that would be your decision. We've seen Nintendo try to control the image of its systems and how they're perceived — as do all companies to some extent — with actions such as claiming ad revenues from YouTube videos of its products; Reggie Fils-Aime equated it to protecting IPs, yet evidence suggests Nintendo may be u-turning on that policy. If region locking is dropped, Nintendo would have to willingly cede some control, with the knowledge that some gamers may opt for content not originally intended, sanctioned and formally prepared for their region. Mario's white gloves would have to loosen their grip, just a little.
Yet that's how the tide is turning. With Sony and even Microsoft going region-free, it'll be interesting to see if Nintendo can retrospectively release a system update to do the same; perhaps the bigger question is, even if the company can make that change, does it want to?
Yeah the weird thing is is for handhelds they were region free until the DSi, so it's just strange that they brought it in. The PS3/4 and xBone aren't, I can't imagine it's going to hurt much especially with the push to worldwide releases on games.
One could argue the machine isn't less powerful, just won't multitask and use 6 gigs of ram to run background processes like profile information and marketing, additionally loading your game videos to shared sites. I have yet to see any graphical Prowess that excels beyond mario kart 8. You can tell me it runs at 50 gamaquadrints or has a brighter texture rate, but what I see is no different from the new systems. They are more expensive, have less games, and lack a screen controller. Maybe next year ill think differently when they unveil more, but this year it's all about the brand, nothing more.
Once again Nintendonis loving up alot this time there really squidding alot of people off and I'm one of them )
I love that this was posted the same day as the review for Project X Zone, a game NO ONE thought would make it overseas.
Region locking only matters when lots of cool Japanese games don't get localized, and Nintendo have stated they're working to improve themselves in that regard.
It seems to me it could only benefit Nintendo to go region-free with the Wii U. If MS and Sony are going this route, region-locking would definitely be seen as a con for someone trying to decide between consoles.
Also, though Nintendo may want to try to control the imaging of its products (just check out http://boxvsbox.tumblr.com to see comparisons of boxarts for games from all companies over the years) to suit its markets, I don't see how going region-free will really affect things that much. Your average consumer (in the US) will still go to Wal-Mart or GameStop and will therefore still see what you want them to see.
The ones it will affect are the core gamers who pay attention to and import international games. And these are the ones who will already be familiar with the international imaging anyway, so it really is unnecessary.
Well... region locking never really affects me at all, since I've never needed to import games from other regions (and not knowing Japanese prevents me from even thinking about getting Japanese games before localisation). However, I do think it's a weird place to be in today's world. It has to go.
No idea if it can be done for the Wii U at this point, though.
Region-free gaming is arguably counter productive to smaller games companies and actually hurts localisation for niche titles and genres. For example look at the 'Warriors' series of games, due to the amount of people that import them Koei no longer bother with english voice actors and some titles are download only. These niche games have a hardcore following who are likely to just import then wait 6 months + for localisation, this means when the game is localised the core market have already got a copy leading to low sales.Theres plenty more cases similar to this especially in the JRPG genre if you do a simple search online.
So yes region free sounds good in theory niche genres are the ones that will suffer. That said outside of niche titles imported games make up a small percentage of games sold overall so despite what the internet says its not as big of a deal as you may think.
Forget buying Japanese games! What about when a game is released in Europe, IN ENGLISH and I can't buy a copy and play it on my US system? I would kill to play the sequel to Trace Memory, I have the means to buy it, and I just can't. That's not good business, Nintendo.
I think that they should at least have it region free so those who do want to import can. I myself would never import cause I can't read Japanese but I know people who do and would import games if the Wii U was not region locked.
I hate region locking, especially when so many great games are never localized on Nintendo Systems. I have so many import games for DS it's not even funny (although I really like the black flat boxes better than the fat see-through white ones here in Europe...) and so many I WANT for my 3ds but will never have. Same for some on Wii...
I DO have a freeloader for my gamecube though, thank goodness... Since even Mega Man Collection and Alien Hominid skipped Europe for Nintendo...
I... 'understand' why they invented it, and why big companies and smaller retailers in smaller countries want it... (MONEY) but that doesn't mean it should be allowed!
Did I mention I ABSOLUTELY hate region locking?
This is actually something that bothers me more for the 3DS because Nintendo handhelds had always been region free. There were lots of Japanese DS games (particularly RPGs) that were released in North America but not Europe. Luckily, it didn't matter, because I could just buy the NA version. I really hope Europe doesn't miss out on too many 3DS releases over the course of its lifespan.
Not region locking is fine for those who are fluent in the language the game is being imported from, or for classic games where text doesn't add to the game. While I would have loved to have animal crossing when it was released in Japan, it would have been utterly useless to buy it as Japanese is not decipherable by me. I think at least a portion of the argument is that Nintendo can't control the quality if region locking is lifted. That makes sense to me. I understand however that its the gamers choice.
Of course whoever wrote the article had the main point being "Microsoft and Sony are doing it". It's not like Nintendo is its own company. Oh wait, IT IS. If you want region-free gaming, go to Sony and Microsoft because they don't care what region you're from as long as they are making money off of you.
EDIT: Btw, that's my opinion. Please respect that we all have our own opinions.
@DerpSandwich Exactly right! and this actually happens far more often the other way round (EU getting shafted). The next game i'll be forced to import is Dragon's Crown because of Atlus' contempt towards Europeans.
PS4 is the only console for me next gen.
Region free is not important....at all.
It remains to be seen how "powerful" all the systems are and how much it matters....but really, who cares.
I actually liked the fact that the DS was region-free as i did import a few games. the 3DS feels like a step backward in that respect.
@ChaosAngel: But I want to throw my money at Nintendo, not Sony or Microsoft. I'm sure people from other regions of the world feel the same way. i'm not sure what the big hurdle is, but i wish they'd get over it and go back to the way it was before, with Nintendo handhelds being region-free. Home consoles too would be a bonus, but my main focus at the moment is handheld gaming, so...
@Dogpigfish Have you heard the term "willfully blind"? The visual and computational performance of the new consoles is demonstrably much higher than the Wii U. They also have second screen features coming to many prominent games even if they are less immediately interactive than the Wii U. It's one thing to prefer Nintendo's offering overall (I do), it's another to rationalize it with such suspect claims.
I personally don't care for region locking, but Nintendo probably should make Wii U region free now.
This article totally misses the point the Japanese import niche is a tangential issue the main issue that has to do with region locking is the price people outside the U.S. have to pay for games.....
Region free is a big deal because if you live in Europe or Australia or Asia, the small price advantage the Wii U has over the PS4 is virtually nothing compared to what players can save by importing their games from the U.S.... it exist to protect local retailers who would be killed by imports if consoles were region free but if the other two consoles are region free being region locked will kill the Wii U as it will be the far most expensive console if you count the cost of acquiring games....
If you add that Nintendo are also the only ones that lock your digital games to the console Nintendo consoles are right now the most restrictive and anti-consumer offering which is not a good strategy for a company that is basically fighting and uphill battle to convince hardcore gamers they are still relevant
Video games, like music, should be a free spirit. ♫ (Lose the Region-Lock, Nintendo!!!)
I really hope Nintendo drops it somehow - region-locking does more than just keep fun games out of people's hands before a (potential) local release date, it's also a language issue.
I live in NA but speak & prefer to play games in Italian. On my US DS that was no problem; just set the system language to Italian and grab the games when I'm in Italy, or import. On the 3DS, the region lock means I can only play games in English, French, or Spanish - even my European DS games, which play in Italian on my DSphat! (North American 3DS models have lost the Italian, German, and Japanese language options from the DS days.)
I've got a second 3DS for EU region games so I can play text-heavy stuff in Italian, but I'd be over the moon if Nintendo decided to drop the region lock!
I written pages about how region locking harms companies more then it helps. It gives them control over their product, which they like, but it's unfair to consumers that their console has a lock on it so companies can decide to sell the rights of their game to a company in another region with the assurance that "nobody imported it to take away from your sales" no matter how long the localization takes. It's in support of bad anti consumer business practices. Nintendo has always had piracy as one of their main concerns, but when your piracy measures hurts paying customers you are taking it too far.
I want to place Trace Memory 2 as well.
I think the problem is that they can't always localize such things. Since ESRB, the PEGI rating, and what Australia has rate their games differently, there's alot of hoops to legally get a game into a country.
Obviously, digital can take down some barriers in releasing a game at retail, but that still doesn't change that a game needs to go through other hoops to do that, as well.
We all saw Europes rated PEGI 17 "after bedtime" law. That's why region locking is still around. Countries have banned certain movies from their homes, and the same applies here.
We may not all agree with ratings here, or think it doesn't matter, but until people are willing go all digital(resulting in a unified rating system or something), or laws are changed with every regard taken into account, I just don't see it happening.
There are reasons for region locking. It's just hard from a consumer's point of view to really pinpoint that reason, and how to go about it without destroying why it was in place in the first place.
I could care less ... I actually like games in English... So I understand them ... So I'm fine with the way things are ... But that's just my point of view!!!!
What I'm trying to say is, region-locking has alot to do with localization. Fix the localization issue first.
It doesn't even matter that much to me anyway. I have hever imported a game. Not gonna pay shipping BS for game I can't understand in language(if that's the case).
Only two words are needed:
Region locking doesn't worry me, despite high prices in Australia, as I can still import from the UK through specialist import sales sites.
I've been wanting them to drop it since Wii when I saw so many games (Tales of Graces) skipping America or potentially skipping America (the three Operation Rainfall games; they're here now but there was a high possibility that none of them would ever come). When it was revealed that DSi was region-locked for certain titles, I didn't think it was a big deal since it was only a few titles. But when it was revealed that 3DS would also be region-locked, I could only feel pure hatred towards Nintendo. I still feel hate toward the Big N and can only hope that they'll soon decide to become less stupid than they are now and drop region-lock.
At the very least, for someone whose not exclusively Nintendo, Sony knows how to listen to their gamers on this certain subject and made the Vita (and PS4, which I'm not getting) region-free. Nintendo could learn a lot from their competitors.
The thing that bothers me the most about reigon locking is not between US and JP systems, but actually between US and EU systems. Especially with 3DS because what if a European guy takes a trip to Disney World and wants to buy a game for the flight back to Europe? With the Vita, they can buy an American game and play it on their own system for the plane ride but not with the 3DS.
@Emblem I totally agree with that. Instead of fighting for Region free, we should fight for bringing all the games to us.
Yes, this needs to ends, it cons are much heavier then the pros, for consumers (where it has zero good t hings about it...) and developers alike.
If Sony has been region-free for almost a decade, and even Microsoft is going region-free, I don't see why Nintendo can't/shouldn't drop it. It's just a bad, bad business policy. The pros of region-free obviously heavily outweigh the cons.
@GearsOfWarU Not all games are in Japanese that have region locks. There's been several titles that got English translations that were released in Europe but not America & vice versa.
Some people will see this as a reason NOT to buy a Wii U. These same people may not know what region locking is.
I was so looking forward to play Excitebots om my Wii, but it never showed up here in Europe. It just did not sell well enough in the US, so Nintendo of Europe did not bother to release it over here. That really annoyed me. I do not care for japanese games, if they are not translated though.
If Nintendo dropped region locking on the 3DS (and XL) all of those neat models that are available in Japan would suddenly be, more or less, available to the world. I would immediately order a Silver / Black 3DS XL from Japan, seeing as how we only have "Fisher-Price" color options in America. It would be a brilliant way of satisfying (shutting up) people like me who keep complaining about color options. Most people are probably satisfied with the colors available, but for those of us who aren't, we would at least have the option of importing.
I totally agree with Title of Article Nintendo should remove region lock. SONY had done it with PS3 they are doing it with PS4 and Microsoft is now doing it with XBOX ONE
I don't mind region locking too much if we still get the same games released in all regions, but there's been so many that have either been released in the US and not Europe (or vice versa) that it does more harm than good.
Region locking stopped me from being able to get Excitebots and the Kirby Anniversary Collection for Wii, and stopped people in the US from getting Disaster: Day Of Crisis and Another Code R. All of those were first party Nintendo published games, so there was absolutely no excuse for it.
Wow, great read. Nintendo really does need to drop it, I completely agree with what Mr. Thomas wrote. I can't blame the Nintendo fanbase rebellion. Region Locking must stop, or not everybody will get the fun they want.
Why aren't you people spamming Nintendo twitter and facebook to drop region locking right now? @ToxieDogg I reeeaaally wanted to play Disaster: Day of Crisis, but never got the chance
How many English language games were pirated because of region locking Nintendo? Make a change...
I agree 100%, they either need to drop it or start bringing some games over that we have interest in. Miiverse has been having this protest and they have the most popular posts in many communities.
@Epicnessofme99 Yeah? Know any offhand?
Region free now!
I've bought lots of DS games in France and in the UK and would love to do the same with Wii U (my sister lives in Europe).
Her Xbox 360 has that same problem she can't buy games here in Brazil or in the US because it is region locked to Europe!
3DS being region locked was an awful decision.
I honestly don't care about the Wii U's region lock...I mean, it's not like I'm going to go to Japan just to buy a Wii U game. If anything, drop region locking for the 3DS, after all, and if I go on vacation to another country there's a greater chance I'm going to bring my 3DS, not my Wii U.
The amount of people who even care about Region Locking is very small compared to everyone else. Our little gaming communities may seem big but they aren't.
Looking at my DS library. quite a few of my games are imports, Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan and its sequel, Contra 4, Jump Ultimate Stars, Atari Greatest Hits Vol.2... On GBA some of my top games were also imports such as Wario Ware Twisted and Double Dragon Advance (these were games not released in Europe). On Gamecube I imported the Japanese version of Sonic Gems so I could play the Streets of Rage games...
Region locking should go, but I honestly do not think Nintendo are going to change their policy on this.
I have a ps3 and the only import games I have are part of the 2011 welcome back program. I got one import game on my ds. Region locking means nothing to me. But I live in the US and I can wait for games. I cannot read Japanese so importing is mostly useless. And Europe did get games before the US for the first time but I waited for them. If nintendo every changed I would not care. I know some people like to import but that is some not all.
@SCAR392 Rating Systems don't account for Region locking. as the hole of Europa, AUS and NZ have the same Region, but different Rating Entities.
I'm opposed to region locking. There are many interesting Games out there which never made it to Europe and never will.
I would even pay extra to officially download those titles from eShop without localization. As Nintendo did with some Hanabi Virtual Console tiitles and sony with some PS Classics.
There are obviously plenty of suggestions I'd have for Nintendo to make things better, but dropping region-locking is the only thing I would consider a "complaint."
This is something I can 100% support.
Nintendo seems to be scared of people buying cheaper games from differ regions, but I feel they are misunderstanding a large part of import gamers.
I never buy an import game or system because it's cheaper, heck most of the time it costs me nearly double or more than a regular PAL release. I've been buying them ever since the Saturn days and will continue to do so for the simple reason that we always miss out on so many games, no matter how good the intentions of publishers might be. Some titles just aren't viable to release in certain markets.
But by giving people such as myself the option to buy and play them, they actually end up selling a bit more in the end.
It's the reason why I have 3 360s right now and multiple versions of just about any retro system you can think of.
It is also the reason why I had to resort to modding my Wii.
While the thought of running emulators or pirated games on it never even crossed my mind, I modded it so I could finally play ExciteBots s well as Reginleiv. Two of my favourite games on the system now.
I even ordered Sayonara Umihara Kawase on 3DS yesterday, even though I don't have a 3DS system that is able to run it yet....
So yes, please mister Shibata, if you read this. Try to look at it from this point of view for a change.
I would rather buy several more import titles with the same money that I'll be using to shell out for an import Wii U and 3DS which will be marked up severely by exporters and import shops alike.
Well, the main issue with region-free wouldn't be us ruining small comapnies' (possible) localization plans, but japan importing games from US for lower pricing. Gaming in japan is seriously expensive, and that's one of the more understandable reasons for Nintendo to do just that.
However, I think it would benefit both sides if Nintendo left the region-lock-or-not choice to the developers themselves. If a company has no plans to release a game internationally, they can only benefit from releasing it region-free, thus allowing people from the west to import it. Nintendo, on the other hand, could still region-lock their big titles to prevent japanese gamers from cheap importing.
It would seem a bit unfair to some at first, but that could even encourage developers to make a translation patch if their game is successful outside of japan.
Just an idea, but I'm sure it would work well for all parts of this issue.
I just think that if there's an English language copy of a game, there's no reason why I shouldn't be able to play it. Period
They can keep the Japan only versions locked is it has no and would have no effect on me either way.
@NMH-TRI Fantasy Life, Bravely Default which is already being brought over next year, Youkai Watch
Region locking the 3DS is one of the worst moves I've seen out of Nintendo. I resisted buying a 3DS until the LL was released and then only bought an import system because so many of the games I love are Japanese only. I purchased my 3DS LL with SD Gungam G Generation 3D, Gundam the 3D Battle and the Kunio-kun games. I seriously considered not getting a domestic 3DS at all. I did eventually cave but really hate owning 2 identical systems. Generally speaking, I only import games not available in my region. I say generally because there have been a few cases of me importing a title and then having it released domestically, such as Project X Zone. I doubt the removal of region locks would hurt domestic sales as most gamers don't want to deal with languages other than the one they speak.
That said, I would be more okay with region locks if they lined up with Blu Ray so that I could at least play Japanese imports.
This topic is in some ways very ridiculous. If there was no region lock then there would have been less demand for the localization of Xenoblade Chronicles, etc. Therefore fewer people in the States and possibly the U.K. wouldn't have got to enjoy such a good game, Not everybody wants to purchase a Japanese language version of a game. However, I can see where people in Australia and New Zealand have a legit complaint.
I had to import 2 Dsi consoles from the US to use Korg DS10+ from XSEED Games - so Nintendo won there! However, they may have thought they sold another 2 consoles but I didn't buy any more games for them . . ..
@Dreamcaster-X ... well I guessed I'd be more up for something like that .... I really didn't know this was a big issue ... I just get the games available ... anyways either way ... I still support the Wii U : )
Instead of region locking the system, region lock games that are guaranteed to come out in the west at some point. Better yet, hand the localization of most niche games to XSEED, D3, or NIS if they seem too risky. At this stage, there is absolutely no reason big games from Japan should be kept there unless they're shovelware or will sell less than 1000 copies both digitally and physically.
just give me pokemon rumble/scramble U and i'll be happy
I'm one of them. I haven't bought a Wii U (or 3DS) because I have to travel back home to Canada to buy it. I live in Japan and I would've gotten a Wii U already if it weren't region-locked. My PS3 is Japanese and I play both US games and JPN games. The Japanese versions sometimes come with English menus and soundtracks (but I can't see Nintendo bothering to include different languages in their games. Heck, Mario still speaks English in the Japanese versions)
Given I'm committed to downloads n Wii U region-locking only really means anything to me in terms of Wii disc software. I wouldn't ditch my Japanese Wii because of the massive Virtual Console collection, but it would be nice to run my discs on my Wii U; especially English language versions of Japanese games that never got localised in Europe.
I finally broke down and bought a Japanese version of Excite Bots, so I'm unlikely to get a North American version of that even if they do drop region-coding, but there are other games from North America out there I could still pick up...
The Wii U is not under powered sorry.. in truth even Microsoft and Sony had said most of the games coming to their system would only us 2 cores.. and about 2 Gigs of memory.. in reality.. so the Wii U is built perfectly.. It's just that it is a Nintendo Console.. and that means first party Nintendo games are going to have to sell it first.. so Third party exclusives.. or games in general is going to do well.. I said earlier that I don't believe.. EA gave the Wii U a legitimate shot.. but to be fair.. I don't think Nintendo did either... they are just now coming to the party is the reality.. so I think it might be an interesting holidays.. Anyway unlocking the region lock may help.. but I don't think it will matter as much now.. (And Dsi had a region lock really.. how about 3DS.. cause I have a European copy of a game that works fine on my very North American 3DS)
Region locking/unlocking can be benificial to english speaking regions mainly, as some times games are released in only in the US a long time before the EU or vice versa or if your Australian then maybe you wont get the game at all... which sucks for my Australian buddys.
But for most part people wether a system is region free or not isn't going to put them off buying or buying a system.
My big concern is this is supposed to be a Nintendo fan site but here we have a talking point which opens the door for Sony/MS fanboys to beat-on Nintendo. Lets be honest I bet less than 2% of this sites traffic even bothered to think I hate WiiU/Won't buy WiiU as its not region free, and that small percentage of people who may of had an issue witg region locking would of brought it up in the forum where other like minded-people would of talked about it.
I feel like you don't really know the reason of region lock . So I put a link here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regional_lockout
Got to be honest, I don't care. If a game comes out here, I'll get it. If it doesn't then that's a shame but that's what happens
Region looking is particularly bad on handhelds. Whenever I am travelling on Europe, I find very annoying to be unable to buy a game to the system I am carrying. The problem is somewhat mitigated by the online shop but Nintendo could be a little more friendly to their travelling customers.
Like the intro says: this wil not affect the vast majority of consumers in any way. It's just one of those things people like to moan about, just like the Club Nintendo gifts or the weather.
Region free was very important to me in the DS. I want that feature to comeback. It sucked to have region lock in Wii, I missed some games because of it.
People really need to know besides the great games America misses out on, Europe misses even more of them.
It was a shame Wii was region locked. I would have loved to have played Captain★Rainbow . (;_;)
It won't happen. Nintendo are too stubborn on the issue. It's such a shame. I would import a lot of games. Especially 3DS games. I have so many USA DS games. Those days are over sadly.
Either release games on the same day in every region, or get rid of region locks. It is 2013!
LOL, applying salt to the wound. Not cool...
@Relias It's underpowered. There's no two ways about it, i'm afraid.
"It's Time for Nintendo to Drop Region Locking"
Sony was always region free, and i still remember the PS1 and PS2 being the most cracked consoles of all time, making it hard to sell games for smaller devs, at them times you had to go in a full disc release. And the PS3 was hacked.
PSP is also the most cracked handheld of all time and so the problem above.
It's not a new thing kids are doing and Nintendo was never caring for being open.
They didn't use a propietary format by using DVDs for the Wii and it killed software sales because of people cracking the console.
Stop telling Nintendo what to do when they are the only that care about the consumer, i buy a copy and my copy has value for a very long time, if you're not taking the consumer side in consideration.
Also all games are release pretty near these days even from Nintendo, like NSLU was 1 week of difference worldwide, Pikmin 3 in 2 weeks will be out in all the world, same for The Wonderful 101 and in one day Pokèmon X/Y will be out all over the world.
Really this issue is no matter at hand when you think as a consumer and you see the release known dates of the upcoming games.
Also, is this an american world? Is this the world when gamers can't wait not even some months to have their games in their region, it's not like translations of games with like 10000 hours of text like Xenoblade Chronicles takes little time you know. There is a limit to what Nintendo can do first person at the same time.
People saying: "It's 2013!" It's stupid, it doesn't mean that in 2013 people can translate a the same speed Superman reads the whole 4 books of Space Odyssey.
I'm sick of this articles causing even more trouble to Nintendo every day that passes, why journalism does not even think anymore?
Since i was little my parents said to me: if you don't have anything to say just shut up.
@DerpSandwich I've played it. It's awesome.
luckily i dont care much either way these days (that was not always the case however) but i do think that region locking is and has been pointless for YEARS now, basically ever since the internet became common place technology.
if region-locking ever had much of a point at all it certainly should be done away with now.
if other companies are finally deciding that it's a thing of the past then nintendo will eventually fall into line but you can bet it won't be until their NEXT console generation at the soonest. it definitely won't happen via an update.
in general nintendo does whatever it wants and couldnt care less about anything that anyone at all thinks or wants (consumers, competitors, society, anybody).
they never lead the pack in anything these days and are always off in left field playing with themselves and just trying to come up with the wackiest idea and praying that it works out.
but they generally end up managing to make something redeeming along the way, despite the overall head-in-the-sand awkwardness and backwardness of the company.
Even if they don't fully reject a region free idea, there has to be something they can do for digital versions. It's not like they'll lose money on shipped, but not purchased units...
Localization is the real 'problem' here. It's not as simple as just updating the firmware and calling it a day.
There are behind the scenes business decisions that must take place before getting rid of the region lock, like making a more universal rating system, or finding a way to make prices between regions more balanced and understandable.
I'm sorry, but 99% of Nintendo users don't care about region-locking. I can only think of ONE game released in Europe that I wanted to get (The Last Window: The Secret of Cape West), but that's it. Besides, people complain about not being able to play "all those masterpieces released in Japan", but... do you even know japanese!? How do you expect to play the game then!? I'm not trying to be rude or anything, just realistic. Sure, Captain Rainbow looks weird and interesting, but even if I could play that game on my Wii, I wouldn't do it, CAUSE THE GAME IS IN JAPANESE, AND I WOULDN'T UNDERSTAND A THING.
With a game like, I don't know, Mario Kart, where all you do is race, sure, then it doesn't matter, but good luck enjoying a game that requieres a minimal of reading.
I think people love to complain about region-locking, but even if it didn't exist, nobody would use it.
I've got a big problem with this. I'm Brazilian, but I live in the UK. My Wii is American and my 3DS is European. It is very hard to earn stars/coins at Club Nintendo lol
You could be right. But in my case it just adds to the long list of Nintendo's horrible anti-consumer practices;
A significant deterrent for sure
I only download games illegally when they are not released in North America.
As long as Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney is localized outside of Japan, I'll be just fine.
I'm studying Japanese, so the language barrier isn't quite the substantial problem it is for most non-natives. Granted, I play most of my Japanese games with a dictionary in my lap, but I've been able to get full enjoyment out of Doubutsu No Mori for N64. Heck, I imported Tomodachi Collection for the Nintendo DS, and was hoping to do the same for the 3DS iteration, but nope- Region Locked! Would love to see this dropped
There is simply no reason to region-lock... Sales of import titles are sales too.
If the 3DS was region free I would, without a doubt, be importing Mario and Luigi Dream Team.
That's like saying "others shouldn't care about region locking because it's no good for me", which is completely silly.
Captain Rainbow is a silly example. Of course people who don't know any Japanese won't be buying adventure games with lots of text or RPGs.
It doesn't make any sense for them to do so.
But there are plenty of genres that require little to no knowledge of the language to be enjoyable. And even then, learning a few basic words in Katakana just to be able to understand some menus, or even Hiragana isn't very hard.
Heck, nowadays you can even get an app on your phone to help you learn the most basic words and sentences in a matter of days/weeks.
It reminds me about the people that kept whining about us asking to finally be able to play 60Hz games.
Even if it doesn't benefit you personally, why bother speaking against it?
Many other would enjoy region free systems immensely so why lock it down because the majority doesn't care or can't be bothered with it. It doesn't take away any features from anyone, so I see no reason whatsoever to be against something like this. Just like I don't see no reason to not have voted for the non-DRM version of the Xbox One, even though I have no intent to buy the system myself.
My head hurts from reading that post... :-/
So much wrong with it, I don't even know where to begin. Even the first sentence makes no sense.
"Sony was always region free".... yeah, no. The first Sony system that was region free was the PS3. Heck, even playing foreign games on a Vita is a hassle due to the way the account system works with the memory cards.
Dont think there's many that would argue for region locking as its totally anti consumer and offers 0 benefits to consumer and all to the publisher, still unfortunately any hopes of wii u/3ds being made region free are wishful thinking. Nintendo are always way behind their competitors (hd/online etc) so expect this in 2-3 generations time if at all.
There is reason for region lock, otherwise it wouldn't exist. Nintendo does what they do to ensure their business can maintain itself.
Everyone always thinks Nintendo makes bad decisions, but the fact is that they'd probably be worse off if they just layed down to every consumer's demands or suggestions.
They know how to run their business. They've been in business for a long time, now.
I'm not saying everything is always great in Nintendo Land, but alot of people don't look at the reason why such things exist in the first place before placing judgement or criticism.
@Doma Not really sorry... The Wii U is exactly what developers need in power.. the only time they complain is because it is not overpowered.. which means in actuality they should be able to deliver games faster and better on it... which is a good thing.. except now they don't want to produce for it.. because of Nintendo's errors and low sells.. to be fair however most third parties do not want to make anything for Nintendo anyway.. not really..
The stuff I would want to import takes ages to get localised.
Doesn't matter about the text really to me for them.
(Didn't even bother me for Rondo of Blood on wii virtual console).
I didn't like it on DoReMi Fantasy Milons DokiDoki Adventure because there is some strange thing I have no idea how to play.
(I hate 50hz more than not being able to read the text though so I didn't have a great deal of choice in wii VC)
I want that Japanese Arena Shooter that has just been localised but it has taken ages.
This doesn't bother me much. If there's a game that comes out in Japan, and it ain't coming here, I usually just grumble about it, and then just move on. But yeah, it'd be nice if they didn't lock this stuff by region. My main concern is when they're making the account system - I feel a tad safer if my downloads aren't locked to the console I got them for.
@SCAR392 So why did they not region lock handheld's prior to the Dsi ?
I guess you are American as they seem to more commonly have a world view that only takes into account what directly affects them (And for some reason their corporate overlords).
But it is going to affect you too (Capcom deciding to only release the new Phoenix Wright on the eshop for a stupid reason but the thing is others will copy and then you will be at the point where anything that is not a huge seller will only be available on the eshop. Capcom might do it universally (They are very impatient). Destroy the ability to ever get a reasonable deal on something (Or buy used which wouldn't affect me)).
There is another thing about removing the region lock there is at least some of the people trying to hack the 3DS that wouldn't be doing it if it could be made region free. (And I think they are the more skilled ones). If they made a homebrew SDK then it might well never be. (Look at PS3 prior to otherOS removal and afterwards).
Id be surprised if they unlocked it. Id just be happy if they localized a lot more rpgs.
This article makes sense. Why did Nintendo add region locking to 3DS? I can't play my US retail copy of Nano Assault.
Could someone explain to me one serious benefit of region locking?
Back in the day I remember I was forced to spend money on some converter (AD 29) on my SNES to play Street fighter 2 before its european release.
Same with Goldeneye US played on a PAL N64 (with another expensive converter).
Does Nintendo understand that with the money I spent on those converters , I could have (and I certainly would) bought other games (probably from Nintendo) instead?
I would really like to see Nintendo listen to their fans, if they keep going like this they'll lose people.
I'm fine with going digital, and your assumption is wrong. Just sayin'.
A firmware update isn't going to happen until they work things out. It's more complicated than "ignoring the fans". Like I said, they have reason to do so. Whether you care about those reasons or not is a different subject.
Just go to Playstation or Xbox if you don't like what Nintendo's doing. I was pretty sure that's how it's been since Sega days. Live let live.
Come on guys, we can make...things!
They already know people want the systems and games to be region free, but they aren't going to do so without following the proper protocol.
They are a business, and it's their job to say in business. This has been their business model ever since Famicom days, when the U.S. wasn't as akin to internet and such.
Different regional interest and business midels is why it exists. I'm not saying they can't or won't, but again, it's more than "just the firmware".
This doesn't really affect me, but I see no reason to remain region locked. Sales are sales!
yes! if for no other reason I can play Taiko No Tatsujin legitimately and not have to download it...
Yes get rid of region lock for the Wii U and 3DS!
I would like to import Gundam the 3D Battle for the Nintendo 3DS, but the darn systems is region locked. http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=VN8ScejziS4&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DVN8ScejziS4
I finally got so fed up with Nintendo's region locked nonsense that I bit the bullet and purchased a Japanese 3DS and Wii so that I could import the Dragon Quest games Square-Enix is too miserly and cheap to localize. It set me back hundreds of dollars, and the purchase of the software was even more expensive, but in the end, I played Dragon Quest VII 3DS to completion, and have taken a short break before delving back into the worlds of the Roto Trilogy.
This nonsense needs to stop.
@Doma 'You could be right. But in my case it just adds to the long list of Nintendo's horrible anti-consumer practices;
No account system
Forcing you to buy a HD
Their countless number of add-on accessories
Never any price drops on their games'
Yes its region locked... but tbh untill Ps4/Xbone are out its the norm
There is an account system and purchases are linked to it, however you can't simply redownload your previous purchases to new hardware which is something I hope is fixed.
If you are not downloading games other than VC titles the 32gb WiiU is plenty of storage. A VC title is only a few meg, game saves are often less than a meg. Your not really forced to by a HDD, but you if you do A 2tb is around £60-£70 from amazon and is 4x bigger than those found on Ps4/Xbone, as standard. If Ps4 follows Ps3 then you'll easily be able upgrade the internal HDD easily enough but the tranfering of data is a awkward and lengthy process, transfering from WiiU memory to HDD is easy and pretty quick.
WiiU has No extras accessories, bar a few charger options, and mostly 3rd party, at this time, Over the years Wii did get a quite few made for the system but All were optional.
WiiU eStore games has had a lot of temporary and perminant price cuts already, not to mention the 30th anniversary VC promo. I can't comment if these sort of price cuts happen on 3DS as I don't own one.
Region lock is a pain in the ass. Mostly It bothers me with movies but still. It's twisted thing to block customers like that.
@meppi Sorry but i remember being able to read Japanese games on PS1 and PS2 just by applying a strip of paper on the optical lens.
Even without cracking the console, PS1 and PS2 were able to read Japanese games just by giving input by a DVD called Action Replay that costed like popcorns.
That's not having a region blocked console.
I had a PS2 and i saw a friend doing that to the PS1 and i got so angry becuase my tremendous honesty forced me to buy any games when he was enjoying anything for free.
Did you forgot that Nintendo in 2011 started a campaing against piracy? And for the first time you sustain an article that wants inconsistencty from a Nintendo policy? Like they didn't put that on their regulations since than, really WTF?
So my entire argument that come after that first line, that you loved to take away of the argument, like any other person in the internet but me, is perfectly valid because reflects fact that i saw and experienced, i would never talk of a gaming matter if i didn't experienced it.
I precise that i'm talking about European PS1 and PS2, becuase i live in Italy, i don't even know if it makes a difference but now i need to tell every little detail becuase you didn't have the courtesy to ask and come aggressively towards me.
Maybe ask why i said all that or read all what i said next time, maybe there is a reason. (oh internet)
Americans get everything cheaper I want too
After Europe got Xenoblade, The Last Story & Pandora's Tower, I'm not really worried any more.
@Justaguest if you buy from usa and have it sent to europe theres gonna be high taxes, thats it always costs more over here, except if you find a game for like 10-20$
Whenever you need to use a 3rd party device to play imports, it actually violates the TOS of the system and ends up voiding your warranty if anything goes wrong. That alone should be enough to make you understand that the system, no matter how easy to crack, wasn't made to play imports originally.
If you want me to go into details, fine.
Taking this article as an attack on Nintendo is misguided as best and even ignorant. Why should we have to protect Nintendo instead of raising valid questions. Nintendo have been locking down their systems ever since the Famicom, either by software or hardware lockouts. Yet the Game Boy, GBA, Virtual Boy and DS all were region free. It was only on certain DS games that had DSi only features that they started locking down region free play. And afterwards they did the same with th 3DS on a system level.
It is a restriction that when lifted, would not hurt them in any meaningful way since a game sold in one territory, is still a game that they got their money from.
Siting a handful of games that get released in a timely manner across the world doesn't make a good argument either. For every one you list, there are tens of games that we'll have to wait months if not years for. And no, not every single one is an RPGS that needs months of translation work to be adapted to differ markets.
I love Nintendo and have done so ever since I played the original Donkey Kong in the arcade back in the day. But this "leave Nintendo alone" argument doesn't make any sense at all. Everyone makes mistakes from time to time. And the only way to make them understand that there is a problem with some of their policies is to talk about them and bring them to their attention like the original article does.
A game that's imported will never sell as well as a game that has been properly localized.
When a company start to go downhill, they want to control their revenue stream even more, like the lets play videos, which they seem to have backed down from.
Somehow these companies seem to forget that most average consumers have at least one hardcore gamer around them that they can ask for advice, and if the hardcore gamer says it's not worth it at the moment, they'll follow that.
So by pleasing the hardcore they would get more customers. and region unlocking would go a long way. Although I would love to have an account system that is not tied to the hardware so I can finally buy more games digitally.
I don't mind the region lock if they do a worldwide release such as that for Pokémon for all regions. However, when a game takes a very long time to arrive here in Europe, that's when we wish they'd drop the region lock so we can at least import the games, English or even Japanese if there are no localization plans instead of waiting months --- even years while everybody else has it already.
"A game that's imported will never sell as well as a game that has been properly localized."
The problem is that lots of classic games never get localized, hence the need to import. So, if there's many fans of a non-localized game, they will import them for their region-free console or handheld which ARE sales instead of NON-sales. Simple, isn't it?
No necessarily customs normally don't open small packages so they don't charge you import duties
Cheap imports is no reason to want to remove region-locking - you truly believe that your respective federal govenments would want to miss out on all that luverly tax, and that small-business would be happy?
No, removing region-locking is about having the choice to buy what you want, when you want.
Example: you're not prevented from buying foreign language films. It used to be that region-locking prevented playback but as it happens,not every DVD player is region-locked any more.
There is no legal requirement to do so, just an agreement between DVD player manufacturers and Video distribution owners - I doubt you'd ever see an officially unlocked Sony player of any description, for example, since they have a vested interest in the entertainment industry.
It's simply for the protection of the money-for-jam cash-flow of entertainment industry distribution middle-men who are trying to hang on to a similar business model as that which the RIAA was fighting hard to maintain.
"It's Time for Nintendo to Drop Region Locking"
I have absolutely never seen the need for this in the first place.
It doesn't help anyone in any meaningful way as far as I can see and all the ways businesses assume it does I think they are wrong.
In my opinion more businesses need to worry less about the short term gains of keeping sales in their country, or whatever reasons they have for implementing region locking these days, and seriously consider the more important long term benefits of keeping customers happy regardless of where they are from in the world.
I mean all Nintendo's handhelds actually used to be region free at one point but then they inexplicably decided to add region locking to those devices starting with the DSi.
It's just an unnecessary limitation imo.
Let's convince Nintendo to go region-free!
If the other two consoles allow you to get imported games for cheaper and Nintendo ones don't that will affect console sales outside the U.S.
If the other two consoles allow you to get imported games for cheaper and Nintendo ones don't that will affect console sales outside the U.S.
If they aren't going to cut the price of the console, this would help appease their customers, for a while.
While it does not affect ME very much (if at all) the way I consume games, I strongly believe that Nintendo needs to remove region locking. It is a backwards policy that has no place alongside the "Big N" and its traditionally innovative philosophy.
The real problem isn't region-locking, but localization. I really do feel bad for all the Earthbound fans out their that had to download illegal roms, which weren't even official dubs, but fan-translations, for use on emulators just to play the series' first and third entries. Ouch. I mean, they can play the game, but still...
Unless it's a straight-forward Mario-style action game with little to no text at all, you can't fully enjoy those text-heavy Japanese RPG games whether you have region-locking or not. Thank goodness Project X-Zone is getting localized, because even if the 3DS was without region-locking, the experience could not be fully enjoyed when it's in full Japanese and you don't know a single Japanese letter...or whatever the heck you call those symbols...
all games should come out at the same time nintendo
Super Metroid has a "Japanese" language option. Though, that doesn't really change much, in your case. I see how it can be a problem. People who use buzz words, like "1080 p", "HD", and "120 fps" when it's just hearsay.
Well Nintendo had allowed their handhelds to be region-free up until the 3DS so it seems region-lock this gen is pretty serious. Nintendo probably region-lock on purpose maybe to protect their audience from different regions or something. they only made handheld region locked when they started having these network build into their handhelds. Their console however had always being region-locked though.
Yup. As an Americrainian permanently living in Japan, it kinda sucks having to choose between importing games I want to play in my native language, or being able to conveniently purchase games that I probably will never find the free time or patience to play all the way through. If not for the region-locking, I would own both a 3DS and a WiiU right now.
I'm all for region-free. To me, it's the difference between playing more games vs. less games. But with a growing industry-wide emphasis on digital downloads, is the whole concept of region locking becoming... irrelevant?
The PS4 and Xbone might be region-free, but it will still most likely be that downloaded titles will be confined to their respective regions. But who knows? With physical medium being region-free, it could perhaps revive the format.
Basically, region-free will expand Nintendo's audience. It could only help in the long run.
I can only say that i imported more than a dozen NA-only games for the DS.
If you could play NA Wii games on the Wii U that’d make at least another handful of games I’d instantly get if I could find them new for a not-too-crazy price. The same goes for 3DS’s Code of Princess and Adventure Time.
I’d also be very happy to download quite a few NA-only VC, WiiWare, DSiWare and eShop releases if I was given the chance.
In general I can wait for games as long as I know they’re definitely coming to Europe. I only import non-PAL stuff when it becomes obvious they’re not coming.
I hate region locking. So what if I want to buy Japanese games? They still get money and not many people do this anyway. Localization should be a focus too. I don't see any point of this. If MICROSOFT can do it, I KNOW Nintendo can.
yup region locking should be drop asap...
My friend is still waiting for Etrian Odyssey 4´s European release (wasn´t it supposed to come in June?).
No more region locking.
I think English voice overs to Japanese games suck. Don't mind English text for ones where you need it (RPG's).
But if the choice is play it in Japanese or don't play it at all or for ages I would rather just have stuff dumped on the eshop as is.
The shoot em ups that Japan gets never seem to ever be available in Europe. (America gets the odd one it appears) Don't care about the text at all. (There seems to be an exception that I will buy immediately Kokuga as long as it is not reviewed as completely awful. Probably get it if it is 6 or above).
Don't like the way some dev's who really don't have to worry about it choosing to make things eshop only for purely greed related reasons though. (Capcom have no reason to not be able to the Ace Atterny as a physical cart whatsoever. (I don't like the game but they made 55% greater revenue last year)).
(Loved Rondo of Blood probably as much as any game I have played for first time relatively recently. (Even though the initial voice over is in German and it has Japanese text).
I recently e-mailed Nintendo of America to voice my opinion on region locking. As far as the 3DS goes, this was their response:
"I realize this isn't what you were hoping to hear, but the region locking of the Nintendo 3DS will remain in place for the life of the system. By taking this approach, Nintendo is able to include parental controls and ensure compliance with regional standards and rating systems."
They had nothing to say about region locking on Wii U.
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