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The Average Gamer

Nintendo Explains Commitment to Region-Locking

Nintendo Direct - Satoru IwataWhile both Sony and Microsoft have stated that their next-gen consoles will not be region-locked, Nintendo’s current consoles remain fixed to their regions. As long as they stay firmly on this path, we’ll never be able to play import games on our Wii Us and our 3DSs. IGN spoke to Satoru Iwata, Nintendo Global President, about why this is the case.

“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,” Iwata replied. “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.”

Now this is true, as was made obvious by last year’s restriction on selling 18-rated games in the eShop, in accordance with German law. That block was lifted in March, but differing regional requirements are a red herring.

We, as gamers, want to buy games wherever we are. I travel to South East Asia to visit my family, I travel to the US for E3 and yet I can’t buy games in either country that work on my 3DS. We’re perfectly capable of understanding that a Japanese game will have different features to an EU or US version. In fact, removed features like original voice acting may well be the reason for purchasing. Or localisation requirements mean that a game can take longer to be released in the EU but English-speakers around the world would be perfectly happy with an American version. No one bothers to translate the spelling into British English anyway. Or, if you live in Australia, perhaps you prefer your Saints Row IV to include the alien anal probe?

However dubious your motives, the fact remains that plenty of people have good reasons for wanting to buy games from different countries. Citing cultural requirements as the reason to prevent this is crap.