Region Lock Has Got to Go

Nintendo-Wii-U-Region-Lock

Originally posted on PutThaBack.org

One big issue for gaming these days is region locking. It ticks players off when a cool game comes out in Japan, yet never sees the light of day in US; nor does their American system support Japanese games right out the box. With all the interesting region-specific games out there, there is one thing certain: region locking has got to go.

Restricting by region had its noble intentions. Games can be released in one region at one time but other regions would have to wait up to months more, and game locking by region helps keep regional markets stable by making sure gamers don’t buy early imports.

But that doesn’t always stop the import market. Some people modify their systems so they can play the games earlier then intended. My cousin introduced my to now favorite game Star Fox 64 a few months before the American release via an import cartridge. However, there have been instances where many games are released in one region, yet never end up being published elsewhere. One example was a game out in the United Kingdom called We Dare, a game that stirred a bit of controversy. The game’s publisher Ubisoft wouldn’t acknowledge the game’s existence in the US.

Some less controversial titles are Xenoblade Chronicles and The Last Story. Those were supposed to be Japan-only, but American Wii players made a push that convinced Nintendo to release English versions of this game.

Of course, we aren’t always that lucky. There are many region-exclusive games that have a healthy following but still don’t get an international release either because publishers think it’s “not marketable” or licensing rights are almost impossible to get around (See Jump Super Stars). This where gamers resort to piracy to to play these otherwise inaccessible games.

With region locking left out picture, players with be able to buy import and play them without the use of a mod chip or boot disk and without breaking copyright laws. And the money goes to the publishers, not the pirates. It’s a win-win situation for everyone!

Now is a good time more than ever for console and handheld makes to get rid of regional locking for good. It may have made sense in the past but now it just servers as a huge wedge between the players and the import games they want to play.

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