As some of you may know there is a petition going on at the moment to get Nintendo to make their current devices region free (which has at the time of writing 20,000 signatures). This has also affected me most recently with trying to review an eshop game for this site, which turns out I cannot do because ALL Nintendo related software is region locked. With Sony and Microsoft hardware now being region free it’s hard for them to put up any argument regarding why there should be a need for locking, especially in this day and age. In an interview with IGN Satoru Iwata states that:
“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.” (Though it is to be noted that this interview was conducted before Microsoft announced region free for their console)
To me this is absolutely ridiculous; he must be stuck in the 90s for this kind of thinking. Doesn’t he know about the Internet? People are sharing their own cultures every day, even on their own social application ‘Miiverse’. Individuals from different nations are conversing with each other every second of everyday, as we do not live in such a restrictive world compared to 15 years ago in terms of communication. The Internet has made it possible for me to communicate with YOU even though you may not reside in the UK, even though our cultures and customs may be different. However we have one very important thing in common, we’re interested in games (and understand English, OK two then). Don’t get me wrong there are linguistic issues present, and living in the E.U I understand this greatly, but because the games are going to get released eventually across regions surely it doesn’t matter if a few of the more eager import from abroad, because as we know the majority of releases happen in N.A before the E.U. So if you haven’t noticed Nintendo many on the continent can understand English, so why are you stopping me from getting a game a few (if not more, Shin Megami Tensei IV I’m looking at you) months earlier just because I’m in a different region!
I really do question Nintendo’s logic sometimes (and since the release of the Wii U even more so) their philosophy is same as twenty years ago, the major difference is that back then they were on top and could dictate what goes where. But now they struggling to get messages across, especially for the Wii U as they relied on the huge Wii base to take note of this console, but they didn’t (they could have eluded a whole lot of trouble if they just called it the Wii 2).
Maybe this whole region locking business is to with sales, maybe they are afraid that if people just import games, those games won’t sell enough in that region. But my argument is that only a few groups of people will do this, and isn’t it through these ‘hard-core’ gamers that others get the information from, so isn’t this a good thing? Though not to undermine localisation, it is incredibly important that games make sense in the respective country of release, as what makes sense in Japan may not make sense in France without prior knowledge of culture and customs. However with the recent announcements made by the other big two is it really viable for Nintendo just to carry on?
Your thoughts? (I think that they will carry on, because no one does stubborn like Nintendo)
(on another note) Just as soon as I have put the finishing touches to this article Nintendo seems fit to deny Evo 2013 permission to broadcast Super smash Brothers: Melee (IGN) after these guys have raised $95,000 in aid of breast cancer research foundation for Melee to be included in the tournament. I don’t know about you guys but I think they have lost it. I mean what are Nintendo trying to protect, through them doing this what they have attained is a lot of negative press. Nintendo have gone beyond conservative to ridiculous. (Update: Nintendo have changed their minds, so Melee will be broadcast at Evo 2013)
(so get on Miiverse or twitter and say WTF!)