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IGN sat down with Nintendo global president Satoru Iwata at E3 to discuss the issue of region locking. Both Sony and Microsoft have announced that their forthcoming next generation consoles will be completely region free, which just leaves Nintendo. The original Nintendo DS and DS Lite were region-free, but this all changed with the Nintendo DSi. Here’s what Satoru Iwata had to say on the controversial issue of region locking.

“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.”

 

243 Comments »

    • Care if I ask what is his point, actually? Because the other consoles are also sold worldwide, have parent controls, are subject to ratings and cultural differences etc. etc. and still do not use region lock (they *can*, but it’s software-based and save for some Xbox 360 games in the first two years no one was relying on it).

      I just wish they admitted that either they won’t change due to financials (devaluation of currency in Japan, Europe or the US may eschew sales perception per region as people may import games from different regions just because they’re cheaper there) or because it would require a hardware revision somehow. These vague responses only make it seem they’re doing this for surreptitious reasons.

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  1. If Nintendo of America were more diligent with bringing over more titles, this wouldn’t be a problem. It’s not as though only minor titles are not being brought over, even Dragon Quest seems to be falling through the cracks.

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  2. Well honestly, the fact that they are adapting content to different regions makes sense, also for the consumer, HOWEVER, the people buying software outside of their home region are obviously well aware that they’re accessing content that is not necessarily tailored to them, therefore they’re taking full responsibility. It’s also a way to satisfy niche crowds without having to localize it and say “Oh well all material that is not region specific isn’t our responsability because you decided to buy outside of your home region.”

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    • Exactly. Also the people who are able to import games are already old enough to play any rated games. Nintendo is bullshitting us. And if parents import games for their kids then it’s their decision and responsibility.

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      • Exactly my thoughts. There’s no point restricting which NINTENDO video games ADULTS order from Japan.
        Also, I don’t know how many people actually use Nintendo’s parental controls, but parents should be the ones in control of their credit cards (eShop purchases) or car (retail).

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  3. …. yet EVERYONE ELSE can do consoles region free.

    Keep saying that it isnt ego talking. You just dont want to lose the sales you get from people buying other region systems to play games.

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  4. hahaha microsoft will put shitendo out of business and then buy them out because the weak u will fail like shitendo.

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  5. Honestly, as long as games are localised, why complain?
    Pricing is not the companies fault, it’s just your countries economy.

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  6. please understand… we at nintendo are celebrating the year 1996, it’s not 2013, it’s 1996. I would also like you to know that we don’t care about much, we love your money, don’t stop throwing your money at us, thanks to you, 1996 will last forever, thankyou…

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  7. I’ve hacked my Wii and it now plays everything, didn’t even need to open it up and poke around. It’s possible with an update. If you’re not doing it I’ll eventually hack my 3DS and Wii U anyways. Oh but don’t worry, I buy ALL my games.

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  8. if sony and ms can do it so can nintendo. motherfuckers are too family oriented and care too much about kids to care about such things as region free. fucking nintendo.

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  9. We just got to keep bugging Nintendo about it. Nintendo needs to face the problems of age requirements and cultural acceptance head on instead of simply avoiding it. Region free would certainly make the fans/customers happier. 💋

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  10. Well okay then bring over all those damn games we don’t have then. Where’s Dragon Quest X at? Where’s the Dragon Quest 25th anniversary set at? Why did we have to campaign for Xenoblade Chronicles, The Last Story, and Pandora’s Tower two of which you didn’t even publish in the US? Quit with this hypocritical bullshit Nintendo.

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    • exactly!!!!! did you also know the only reason that nintendo even published xenoblade was because gamestop saw the demand. why do you think that its just a gamestop exclusive???? so in a way they didnt even really publish that themselves because if it wasnt for gamestop, the game would have never came!!!!!!

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    • Because western gamers have a long tradition about not caring for most games that comes out in Japan…

      If people made petitions all the time like for TLS and PT, then eventually High Command would realise the demand and begin to ship the games outside Japan…

      But they cannot do this now just to please a few hundred gamers…

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  11. Don’t care about the games that will be affected myself, but I feel bad for the others who do care. If only I didn’t enjoy Nintendo’s games so god damn much I could easily move on, sigh……….. *continues to wait furiously*

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    • Oh I meant to ask you. What are your thoughts on Tropical Freeze? I see you’ve been playing a lot of DKCR 3D lately and you also went to the Best Buy event. I personally thought the game was very well polished and Rare made another great quality title.

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  12. Nope, nope, nope, and furthermore, nope.

    Region free means I can buy my games from other countries without worrying about buying compatible hardware, which is counter-productive. If I buy a game from Japan, I want it to work on my European system without having to buy a Japanese system just because of region locking. Likewise, if I go to America for a business trip, I want the freedom to buy a game from America and for that to work on my European system I own. The Parental Controls excuse is exactly that, an excuse. The only reason why Nintendo are region-locking is purely for territorial control and segregation. Draconian and unwanted.

    Nintendo can’t use the NTSC vs PAL argument for region-locking, that in itself died in 2000. Handhelds? They’re all the same hardware anyway, so there’s no excuse full stop. Worldwide simultaneous releases doesn’t resolve the situation either.

    tl:dr? Iwata can keep his cheap talk. There are many of us that want region free, and we’ll continue to tell you “you’re doing it wrong” until you give us region free.

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  13. “…and each region has its own cultural acceptance and legal restrictions…”
    No one is forcing you to buy a game that makes you feel uncomfortable. Jesus Christ…Get your shit together, Iwata.

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  14. Yeah, for once I agree with the haters. Fuck parental controls. Parents should just do their jobs and not buy games their kids are too young to play. Rating systems are suggestions, they aren’t law. Unless you’re going to the cinema or buying porn. ( lol ) But I mean come on, like there’s many M rated games on Nintendo consoles anyways. Most don’t go higher than teen/16. It isn’t until recently on the Wii U we’ve gotten more mature games. Even then, other consoles don’t region lock. If I wanna take the risk and play a game that could be considered “illegal” here then let me, it will be my problem. ( I highly doubt there is such a game on a Nintendo console ever. )

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  15. Pika Pi Pika Pikachu
    (Nintendo needs to listen to people about this because there are some people who like getting games from other regions not unless they’re bringing games to other regions)

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  16. This makes stuff like 3DS brew and Gateaway even more important, perhaps they can solve it without Nintendo ruining things again. Nintendo can now chose, have people pirate games or let us buy them legally and fair. I prefer the last choice. Because I love collecting chose game boxes!

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  17. this sounds dumb, cause the other 2 are sold in most regions as well, and have parental controls, and still have to abide the laws of the country regarding restrictions etc…so no not buying the excuse

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  18. Maybe if they didn’t region lock I could had been able to play Xenoblade, The Last Story,Pandora’s Tower when they released. Instead I had to wait for “Operation Rainfall” (almost 2 years after their Japan release) to convince Nintendo to bring those more mature games to the West. They didn’t even bother with releasing Fatal Frame 2 in the West either. Nintendo is clearly out of touch. All they do now is kiddie games and forgot about the ones of us who want to play something else.

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  19. This is the only thing Nintendo have to make third party happy and very few people want Nintendo to remove it? Nintendo remove this and we may actually get less third party support.

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  20. Iwata ALWAYS makes the wrong decisions. NONE of those Japanese games will ever leave Japan, like Bravely Default (for now). I wanted to play it, but you always want Nintendo to be perfect. Well, right now, the Wii U is the joke of the 8th generation of consoles and YOU need to fix the it. EA and Ubisoft are going to be big supporters of the PS4 and Xbox One and leave the Wii U abandoned. Please make the Wii U revolutionary, not using outdated technology.

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  21. PLEASE UNDERSTAND PLEASE UNDERSTAND PLEASE UNDERSTAND PLEASE UNDERSTAND PLEASE UNDERSTAND PLEASE UNDERSTAND PLEASE UNDERSTAND PLEASE UNDERSTAND PLEASE UNDERSTAND PLEASE UNDERSTAND PLEASE UNDERSTAND PLEASE UNDERSTAND PLEASE UNDERSTAND PLEASE UNDERSTAND PLEASE UNDERSTAND PLEASE UNDERSTAND PLEASE UNDERSTAND PLEASE UNDERSTAND PLEASE UNDERSTAND PLEASE UNDERSTAND PLEASE UNDERSTAND PLEASE UNDERSTAND PLEASE UNDERSTAND PLEASE UNDERSTAND PLEASE UNDERSTAND PLEASE UNDERSTAND PLEASE UNDERSTAND PLEASE UNDERSTAND

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  22. Can they give up with the freakin’ parental controls! Its ridiculous and I don’t know ANYBODY who would use them. Parents will let their kids get whatever games they’re allowed to get. This is insane. There are SO MANY games that are only released in Japan and we want to buy them! Nintendo you are going out of business if you don’t adapt the present ways.

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    • exactly, its the PARENTS RESPONSIBILITY. such a pointless feature. they need to get rid of it… maybe it could free up some god damn RAM.

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        • They made a huge deal over parental controls they made it its own app and turning features on and off. it does require RAM. and 1GB ram is for the OS. obviously they dont need 1GB for an OS. in future updates they might free up some of the RAM for games.

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  23. mr iwata, i respect you and all but please remove the region lock on both the 3ds and wii u because what if certain games dont reach certain regions and they wanna play it, they dont want to buy another system just for imports, by removing region locking you will gain more respect and more people will buy your systems.

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  24. For goodness sake! At Least, I beg of you, At LEAST give us the option to type in Japanese in Miiverse. Japanese can use an English keyboard why can’t English Speakers use a Japanese keyboard? It’s really frustrating for those of us who can speak it and have to manually write out our messages. And oh yeah, make everything region free. Lazy!

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    • Fire iwata he’s too stupid to run a successful business. Because of him, Nintendo is labeled as kiddy. If I were the CEO of Nintendo, I would focus on reversing that label.

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  25. if sony and ms can do it, then why fuck cant nintendo do it too? why are they treating consumers like babies? region lock is pointless and is just an annoyance! if nintendo systems were region free then there would be less bullshit like operation rainfall. If NoA was actually good then this wouldn’t be a huge problem. This is just a stupid excuse, lol parental controls? PS3 and VITA has it and they’re region free. Fucking Shitendo.

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    • Taxes and Tariffs might be one. I know Apple and Sony are both region locked to the account of the user. I think Apple does by credit card and address. Sony, I have heard you switch your account which sounds as easy as unlocking the region lock on a SNES (take out plastic piece).

      Its same with Adobe, you can’t just buy the Middle Eastern version, which is the only version that can layout Arabic and Hebrew (ie extra features) straight out. They won’t even let purchase it with credit card unless you have an adress in that region. But it can be circumvented though….so there are lots of companies that region lock in one form or another.

      And no I am not saying its ok, but I think taxes and money conversion have allot to do with it.

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  26. Why on earth would dumb Iwata name the product Wii (we?) U. They should have just called it “you”. No online for a 3D Mario, Nintendo Land, Pikmin 3, DK TF, region locked, and only one player plays with the GamePad. I see more “I” than “we ” Iwata is dumb very very dumb and stupid.

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    • Sicr what’s the next bad news you have planned tomorrow about Wii U? The 3DS and Wii U are like night and day. When 3DS articles are posted its good. When Wii U articles get posted, it’s a complete 360.

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      • The only thing that is keeping me a Nintendo fan is the up coming games for the Wii U. Also, the way the GamePad and the console react to each other is Amazing. The GamePad keeps me from needing my Acer Tablet 500 at home. The GamePad goes to the home manual much faster than My Acer Tablet. Its lighter, and the way it plays my games is sweet. Its also nice that I can play my Wii games. My only problem with Nintendo is the CEO running it. I still love Nintendo and all but I don’t have to agree with every thing Nintendo does to be a fan.

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  27. i don’t see anyone talking shit about sonysoft’s paid internet,03 controller,overpriced overated specs the 8th gen is all about the gpad motionchuck combo because nothing can fuck with that especially ps4’s bigger than it is specs

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    • ps4 and the box1 should be 250 so the sonysofters can even out those net charges talk about sheep dual analog was outdated the day it arrived

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  28. Wow Iwata, that might have been the dumbest thing to come out of his mouth. I might now be seeing why his approval rating is dropping.

    I guess from his point of view, Microsoft and Sony don’t have to conform to parental controls since they don’t have region lock and are doing just fine.

    I mean, this honestly doesn’t effect me because I don’t import, but I see no problem with the option being there.

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    • considering ps4’s ten year plan the u will save me about 600 hundred i can spend that on a extra gpad ,internet bill,games to all sonysofters wait to u guys get your play and x pads your gonna love it

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  29. Iwata pretty much exhausted his oxygen speaking in political speech/language sense sidetracking the question. In the end, he clearly never explain those reasons for the region locking. But I’m sure that the number one reason for it is “Piracy”. But only saying that he hope people to understand and accept the lock without a clear explanation is just asking too much of fans to swallow obvious BS.

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    • For piracy? Do you know how many people pirated Xenoblade and all of the other Japan exclusive games because of the region lock in the Wii?

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  30. Iwata is killing Nintendo, and refuses to actually listen to what fans want. I don’t care how entertaining his broken English is in the Nintendo Direct videos anymore. Get rid of his ass. Seriously. The company’s becoming a joke, No wonder everyone rips on Nintendo fans.

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  31. Hell, even Microsoft listened to the public outcry after their E3 botch with the Xbox One. Nintendo needs all of the support in the console market that they can get right now and it is absolutely insulting that they continually refuse to acknowledge their customers’ desires.

    Thankfully the 3ds has been pretty badass so far.

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  32. Still pretty BS if you ask me. I think that Nintendo NEEDS to take away the region lock now because if its such a bad business move then how come the PlayStation has been doing it for years and is still region free on the PS4 and PSVita?

    Nintendo, listen you might be scared about losing money but you won’t, as a matter of fact you’d earn more money because you wouldn’t have to pay for shipping costs or anything like that. So let the fans have what they want, me, I could care less but please Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony have do it, now its your turn.

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  33. This, like all nintendo announcements and responses as of late, is complete crap. It doesnt have anything to do with national ratings board, user experience or being family oriented, either.

    Nintendo doesnt want to remove region lock for financial reasons.

    If theres no region lock, theres no reason for people in australia to pay double for their games when they could just as easily get the same game imported to them from america.

    As has been said already, ms and sony are doing it and have titles that are much more mature than anything likely to be seen on wiiu. Like always, what hes said here makes no sense when paired with proper context. Stop letting nintendos schmucks lie to you

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  34. Iwata I respect you and all and I’m a nintendofan but for the love of Arceus PLEASE remove the region-lock it’s a pretty pointless feature and if you keep this sh*t up you might end up like Sega.

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