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Iwata: Nintendo's Region Locking Down To Cultural & Legal Differences, Not "Business Ego"

Jonathan Lester
3DS, Nintendo, Region Lock, Wii, Wii U

Iwata: Nintendo's Region Locking Down To Cultural & Legal Differences, Not "Business Ego"

"There Are Reasons Behind It"

The Wii, 3DS and Wii U are all region-locked, which stops Western import fans from enjoying the fulsome content that often takes months if not years to finally reach our shores (and often arrives far too late). Following a recent anti-region locking petition that attracted over 17,000 signatures, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata has spoken out on the issue, claiming that it's an unavoidable part of doing business.

"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 told IGN.

Ninty's CEO suggested that, rather than a ploy to raise more cash, their policy is due to different regions having cultural differences, different tastes and local legal requirements that need to be respected. "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," Iwata concluded. "There are some reasons behind it."

The Wii's region locking policy led to the rampant sale of chipped units, while gamers had to constantly harangue Nintendo Of America to secure the release of games like Xenoblade Chronicles and The Last Story. We're not at all convinced that Iwata's explanation holds water since Sony presumably has to deal with exactly the same "cultural acceptance and legal restrictions" with the region-free PS3 and PS Vita, but for now, the company shows no sign of budging.

Add a comment3 comments
Realhoneyman  Jul. 4, 2013 at 12:03

Valid point raised in the last paragraph. SONY have allowed regionless gaming with the PS3 and PS VITA this generation which shows a good company attitude towards the consumer. I see they will continue this trend with the PS4, as will Microsoft with the Xbox One.

C'mon Nintendo, its time to get with the times and allow your gamers in regions the world over to play what they want on your machines. Seems fair.

Late  Jul. 4, 2013 at 12:46

Tbh, unlocking regions wouldn't swing it for me, and I doubt it'd make much difference to most folk.
The U had a window of opportunity, and it's just about to close.

Quietus  Jul. 4, 2013 at 13:08

The point is that those that would actually bother to import games are the minority, and it's usually only those seeking foreign exclusives, so the idea of having to restrict it always seems daft.

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