Satoru Iwata discusses Nintendo’s decision to region lock its consoles

satoru iwata rl

With the fairly recent news of Sony and Microsoft confirming that both PS4 and Xbox One will be region free, it’s no wonder fans are frequently questioning Nintendo’s decision to region lock both Wii U and 3DS systems. 

Especially since E3, as Sony were the first to reveal that their next-gen console will have no region restrictions, fans have been particularly passionate about the issue, having attempted Miiverse campaigns, even starting an online petition which has passed over 10,000 signatures. We’ve yet to see whether these numbers will mean anything, or just end up another futile attempt to grab Nintendo’s attention on the matter.

To shed some light on the issue, IGN recently published an interview, which was originally part of a transcript from an E3 discussion with the Nintendo global president (at which time Microsoft had yet to reveal its DRM approach with Xbox One). Iwata clearly explains the problem with manufacturing products worldwide, and the restrictions that come with it.

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. 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.

…I hope that game fans can understand that the industry isn’t doing this solely out of business ego. There are some reasons behind it.

So there you have it, that’s the reason Nintendo is continuing to (starting with the DSi system), and is now in fact the only major company to region-lock their consoles. While it’s become less of a problem as more and more titles are often being localised, it continues to be shame for territories that miss out on the lesser-known classics which are usually Japanese-only releases.

What do you think on the matter? Does region locking significantly affect you and your gaming experiences?

Source: IGN UK

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