Nintendo Explains Stance On Region Locking, Future Plans Unclear
Nintendo addressed region locking for their consoles during the company's most recent investor meeting, but the future remains unclear.
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The New Nintendo 3DS, which is slated to come to the West sometime in 2015, will be region-locked. And just last year, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata justified his company's commitment to region-locked content. However, during this week's investor meeting, it sounds like that's not a set-in-stone policy for Nintendo.
Form an unofficial translation of the Q&A following Nintendo's investor meeting on gaming forum Neogaf, Iwata responded to the question of whether his company had any plans to unlock the region-specific restrictions.
The game business has a history of taking a very long time with localization among other things, such as having to deal with various issues of marketing in each particular country, or games that have made use of licensed content that did not apply globally, and had all kinds of circumstances, so to say, that region-locking has existed due to circumstances on the sellers' side rather than for the sake of the customers. In the history of game consoles, that is the current situation. As for what should be done going forward, if unlocked for the benefit of the customers, there may also be a benefit for us. Conversely, unlocking would require various problems to be solved, so while I can't say today whether or not we intend to unlock, we realize that it is one thing that we must consider looking to the future.
While it's not the concession to finally abandon the practice that many fans may have wanted, it's still better than a blanket rejection. After all, up until the Nintendo DS, the Nintendo's handheld consoles were region-free.