I've spent the last nineteen years playing video games so you can imagine that in that time I've grown an interesting collection of titles and a certain fondness for specific genres. With that I've also taken a liking to many development houses that aren't as close to home as I'd like them to be; however there was always the choice of importing the titles that were important to me.
Since my early days of gaming I've always wondered why consoles weren't as easily accessible in terms of region-locking. Why is region-locking a big deal considering the money spent still goes to the developers on the other end of the transaction. I understand that we have VAT and all sorts of import taxes and other various issues but that shouldn't deflect someone from not buying a title just because it's overseas... of course, that would be the preferred thought but it doesn't work that way.
I applaud Nintendo and Sony for releasing both their handhelds (and in Sony's case Playstation 3) totally region-free. It's probably the best thing that's ever happened to gaming and those platforms for me lead the way to letting people play what they pay for, especially when that title hasn't or will not be released state-side.
The most recent title I imported was Hexyz Force by Sting on the PSP. Now that's an RPG and with me living in the United Kingdom I find that we miss out on a lot of these titles because publishers aren't interested in licensing titles (especially PSP ones) as they're costly. My thought there is if they don't try they'd never know how well a title does but no one's out there giving these games a chance.
I also imported Demon's Souls when it was released in America and it's one of my favourite games for the Playstation 3... it's hard to believe that it's still not out on European shores considering how much of a hit it was in both Japan and the US. BlazBlue also had the same issues but was actually picked up rather quickly however I love the American limited edition set and wouldn't trade it for the rubbish European one any day.
Overall, I now have 15 imported titles shared between the PSP, Nintendo DS and Playstation 3. Many of them never came anywhere near me and some came out a year and a half to two years later. It's 2010 and I'm no longer willing to wait 2 years for a game to reach European shores as most games are pre-translated in America before they ever reach here.
With all of that down; I think it's time to remove region-locking from games and let people do what they want. Technologies come far yet this still seems to be a trivial matter that should have been resolved years ago.
Here's hoping that the next generation will be more forgiving.