Nintendo president defends region locking

Nintendo president explains region locks are a result of cultural differences and legal requirements in global markets.

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has discussed why the Japanese company continues to include region restrictions on its hardware and software products, citing differing social acceptance in global markets and legal requirements in an interview with IGN.

"From some people’s perspective, it might seem like a kind of restriction. However, we hope people can appreciate the fact that we’re selling our products worldwide," Iwata said. "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."

Iawata explained that Nintendo is not the only company currently limiting out-of-region support for products, but insisted that its intentions are not to punish users.

"I hope that game fans can understand that the industry isn't doing this solely out of business ego," he said. "There are some reasons behind it."

Last month during E3, Sony announced that the PlayStation 4 will be region free, allowing users to play discs from any territory. Microsoft initially revealed that its upcoming home console, the Xbox One, would include region encoding to comply with country-specific regulatory guidelines. Following its press conference at the trade show, Microsoft back-pedalled, announcing a complete policy reversal, saying, “Xbox One games will be playable on any Xbox One console--there will be no regional restrictions.”

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946 comments
mav_destroyer
mav_destroyer

"From some people’s perspective, it might seem like a kind of restriction. However, we hope people can appreciate the fact that we’re selling our products worldwide," Iwata said.


Bull! Nintendo are NOT selling their stuff worldwide, I live in a country where Nintendo as a company doesn't exist and all hardware and games are imported and marked up in price. I depend heavily on region free consoles and games since not everything is available here, or not at a fair price.


Sony and Microsoft aren't region locking their games/hardware and everyone is perfectly happy, why can't you do the same Nintendo?

pinky08_09
pinky08_09

“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." This would be true if the law was made by regions, but the truth is that regions (NTSC, PAL,among others) respond to different technology in different portions of the globe and have nothing to do with the restrictions applied in games by each individual country, so Nintendos statement makes no sense at all.

Ripper_TV
Ripper_TV

WHat a load of total crap. Iwata ain't fooling nobody with this. I always just cringe listening to him or reading his quotes. It's as if his audience was absolute idiots. Does he really believe that?

On the subject. If EVERYBODY else is going with Region FREE it's obviously doable and better for profitability. END of STORY. He can keep all the BULL to himself!

straightcur
straightcur

Nintendo is a dying brand,  who cares

MERGATROYDER
MERGATROYDER

Iwata is an idiot. He's killing the company. 

Xx_Kares_xX
Xx_Kares_xX

...sooooo basically what nintendo is saying is that there are different censorship policies in different regions.. which means.. they could just release slightly altered versions of the game that will work on ALL THREE Major regions and then players who are willing to import would still have the choice of what version they wanted instead of being forced out of it? I'm not following your logic nintendo.

Divedude
Divedude

Region Locks mean no Military Presence for your product.  Microsoft got bashed over the head with it.  But again Mario can keep his stuff where it belongs.

AXE325XXEXE
AXE325XXEXE

.....yeah good luck with that Iwata, he really should find a predecessor to take care of the company. 

No_Intelligence
No_Intelligence

Region lock is stupid.  Cultural acceptance and age ratings I can understand, but you don't have to lock the region.  If your region sells the version of the game acceptable for that region, then that is enough.  There's nothing to stop me from buying the console elsewhere and getting another region's copy elsewhere.  So in conclusion, region locks just annoy the hell out of people, make them spend extra cash, and protect no one.

TheJBerger51
TheJBerger51

I really wish that Nintendo made the 3DS region-free, because there are a lot of great games in Japan on the 3DS, but I can't play them. Nintendo had the SNES, Game Boy and Game Boy Advance region-free, which is good, This is Sony's strength, since the PS3, PSP, PS Vita and PS4 are region-free, so I can buy games from Japan. I got some imports from Japan as some gifts for graduating college on the PS3 and PSP. I hate region locking and I hope Nintendo reconsiders on making consoles region-free.

ernelson1976
ernelson1976

Region locking sucks, but it also means that games won't have to meet the highest legal standard everywhere. If every game had to meet the most restrictive content standards, that means gamers in more permissive regions (like North America) may well end up getting screwed when it comes to content. Maybe that won't happen. It's hard to say. But look at the hoops that Undead Labs is going through to get State of Decay available in Australia.

I'm a little concerned that with both the PS4 and Xbox One unlocked, that games are going to be more heavily content-edited than they would be otherwise. And honestly, region unlocking isn't a significant feature for me. I'd rather not have my games censored here in NA just because some other country is more restrictive.

If it works out differently, that's fine. But I'm not sure that's how it's going to go.

Ronnie Lee Cooper
Ronnie Lee Cooper

I agree with the whole respect thing but there are some region specific games I would love to play in America, without forking out the money for that region specific console. For example, in Japan they made a HD remake of Monster Hunter Freedom 3, which was only released in Japan but luckily my PS3 isn't region locked so I can enjoy it! With of course the exception of everything being in Japanese.

KiriharaZro
KiriharaZro

LOL sooo Nintendo man says "you are a little bit stupid so, maybe you buy a game that in the end will kick your cultural acceptance, so we are protecting you from that"

Well done Nintendo, you confirm me once again why I left your shitti consoles

Busta
Busta

I don't understand MS.  They either have to follow region regulatory guidelines or they don't?  Seemed like a quick easy change to me.  Does someone know more about these regulatory guidelines?

Mohjong
Mohjong

Back when 3DS released, the Yen to USD exchange rate was like 88:1.  While a game cost from 5800 to 7800 in Asia, the game would cost no more than $40 in the states.  Make perfect sense to have it region locked.  Because Nintendo had turned gaming into a Business. 

arisgald
arisgald

The only solution for this guys is BUY A CONSOLE IN EACH DIFFERENT REGION!!!!... yes i'll say it again BUY A CONSOLE IN EACH DIFFERENT REGION!!!! Costly as it may seem but thats the only solution/reflash the console itself... Honestly I do love Nintendo and their games coz mostly are family fun games that caters all ages but Region Locking is quite a pain in the pocket specially if you travel alot/work abroad...

rising_k
rising_k

Give us region-free console right now, Nintendo. Either do that or go jump off a cliff.

chronocommander
chronocommander

If all the competitors can do it, so can Nintendo. And quite frankly, the extremes they go to to comply with these restrictions are ludicrous: for example, buying a 3DS in one region, emigrating and having it repaired in another could lead to the loss of all purchased content on it as customer service wipes it clean for the new region (cases like these have already happened). If Nintendo wants to survive, on top of good games (which it still produces) it has to listen to customers and come up with viable content distribution policies, we live in a world where people move around the world frequently and order things online.

dangerzone50
dangerzone50

Ubisoft is no longer offering collectors editions for the US market. since the PS4 is not region locked, i preordered all my collectors editions from the EU market.


The EU editions have better swag and come with all the day one pre-order DLC in one box. You would have to preorder from 7 different retailers to get all of it here


So in short, region locking is a big deal to me (kinda... sorta)

P4wn4g3
P4wn4g3

I've always wondered why Nintendo defends this so much. It seems like, more often than not, it leads to piracy and hacks because people want to experience the other games and game versions. See the Earthbound series for reference.

Pyrosa
Pyrosa

It's true:  "Poop U" (and similar "simulation gaming") simply isn't legal to sell in most countries.

L0mak
L0mak

Nintendo is too old fashioned to create a console for the next generation.

They are too stubborn to realize this fact. ^^

Because of 1 and 2. It is impossible for them to improve their product. Change wont come until they start eating all that Humble pie they've been getting served since they've released WiiU 

cheamo
cheamo

It seems easy enough to get by the legal requirements, since Sony has been doing it for forever now, so STFU Iwata. Region locking is so stupid.

JimmeyBurrows
JimmeyBurrows

If countrys have differing rules, it's their problem, obviously the differing of oppinions means most of them are wrong about something.

Simply put, they have an excuse for keeping region locking and they are happy to fall back on that while enjoying jipping different countrys in different ways.

Fursnake
Fursnake

Patcher, about one step away from being a talking Magic 8 Ball.

jon_bone
jon_bone

No excuses, GET RID OF IT!

Ripper_TV
Ripper_TV

@Xx_Kares_xX Erhm, that's what PS3, PS4, Vita and Xbone are doing. BUT NOOOOOOO, Nintendon't. They're idiots.

Ripper_TV
Ripper_TV

@Divedude Is military really that important in the grand scheme though? I don't think they ammount to more than 0.5% (and that's generous) of overall sales. Don't get me wrong, I want everybody in the game, BUT from the corporations' point of view, they can simply sacrifice military and forget about them forever.


Ripper_TV
Ripper_TV

@No_Intelligence Region locking just makes speculators richer, that's about it. Nintendo will die of its PRIDE.


Ripper_TV
Ripper_TV

@TheJBerger51 Region locking a handheld is beyond stupid. How do they explain DS being region free??? WHAT exactly changed in that paradigm??


maitkarro
maitkarro

@Mohjong For japanese to lock us and eu games yeah, but to lock japanese games there is no meaning to it, they cost more anyways so not region locking them they can make more money on it because some people like to play japanese games, that may never be translated officially to overseas.

valknight
valknight

@arisgald But then you would have to purchase each game in different regions lol.. that could get confusing. 


viral028
viral028

@P4wn4g3  well piracy ? its just an excuse you can always buy original jap release and get a chip to console

aussiemuscle
aussiemuscle

@jinflorida It only affects us 'poor sods' outside the japanese/usa zones. i hated sony for forcing it into the DVD format and i wish the govt would outlaw the practice.

Pyrosa
Pyrosa

@L0mak Compared to Microsoft's abomination of a Kinect-driven advertising platform (that plays a few games on the side), I'm actually more favorable toward Nintendo's overly simplistic platform.  

At least it was just designed to play games...

Jinzo_111887
Jinzo_111887

@cheamo Sony left it up to the publishers, I think. Basically, the PS3 had region locking, it just wasn't enforced most of the time. P4A is one example for the PS3 where it was.

silvergol
silvergol

@Fursnake Illuminatti ball? wow that thing did fail for pachter more than anything in the world!.

hatieshorrer
hatieshorrer

@silvergol  

So according to this poll Wii U sales will double if one must have game is released.  Smash Bros Wii U 2014.

Ripper_TV
Ripper_TV

@jon_bone Why there isn't one huge petition against it? It would get a million signups pretty quickly I think. But whatever, Nintendo NEVER listened to their "consumers".


hatieshorrer
hatieshorrer

@jon_bone  

Let me get this straight a game banned in for example Australia would have to be banned world wide because of region free but you consider that no excuse for region locks.

L0mak
L0mak

@Pyrosa @L0mak M$ has been eating that humble pie like its their last meal on earth. Given how much backpedaling they've done recently.

jon_bone
jon_bone

@hatieshorrer Australia bans every game it seems, so their citizens are bound to sneak a few in,

mickyfinn84
mickyfinn84

@hatieshorrer That is a terrible excuse. Australia uses PAL games, the same as all of Europe. Do games that get banned in Australia get banned in Europe too? No.

JimmeyBurrows
JimmeyBurrows

@hatieshorrer Or they could just not sell it there and leave blocking imports to the country stupid enough to ban something with no good reason. 

(In no way suggesting Australians are stupid, just that your government is derpty derp in all kinds of ways others aren't.)