In this new digital age the world as we know has become smaller and smaller, the once humble toaster can now call up Australia find out how the weather is on Bondi beach and print its discovery on the side of your morning toast, your friends in countries all over the world can hang out and play video games together and we can now teleport from one point of the globe to another in the blink of an eye.
Ok, so that last parts not quite true but high speed internet access has made it much easier to feel closer to other nations than it has in the past and with it the world has changed but one entity hasn't came along for the ride and that's the men and women who organise the distribution of video games.
As a European citizen that spends his life on the internet reading and writing about my own hobbies its hard not to notice the disparity between continents when it comes to video game releases. Some of these are relatively minor, a 3 day difference in release date for most major video games is hard heart breaking but there are some rather massive discrepancies
Kirby's Epic Yarn took a staggering 5 months to be released in Europe, the Playstation 3 was delayed 6 months due to manufacturing difficulties. The list goes on and on, well it doesn't because I couldn't think of any pertinent examples but rest assured there are lots.
These delays in games can often be explained in very simple ways, Shipping concerns, publishers unwilling to take the risk on smaller markets, localisation problems and in a way that's fair but one thing really grinds me the wrong way and that's digital distribution.
In a world where I could watch someone else's TV from 300 miles away in real time surely I should be able to download the same content from my console or handhelds online store and while I would hope that would be true, its not.
While Microsoft and Sony have generally been quite good when it comes to releasing the same content worldwide Nintendo continues to disappoint European gamers with lack of content on its online store and each company still have problems when it comes to working out a decent exchange rate, most of the time simply settling for the same figure but with a different currency symbol prefixing the number.
To sum it all up with a video game analogy, in the world of video game distribution Japan and North America get to take turns being the easy tutorial levels, while Europe is a mid-game dungeon that may require the use of a guide and not everyone will even bother but it could be worse, the Australian level requires several GameShark codes and is set on the moon!