Nintendo president defends region locking

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

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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.

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"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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