Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Nintendo & Region Locking: My Take

Satoru Iwata has done it again.  He has gone and stuck his foot clearly in his mouth.  In the wake of BOTH Microsoft and Sony saying their next consoles would not have any region locking, and millions upon millions of Nintendo fans calling for Nintendo to follow suit, Iwata spewed what is, to be frank, one of the most idiotic things I have ever seen a gaming industry executive say in an IGN interview I refuse to link to.

It's worse than what now former Xbox guy Don Mattrick had to say at E3 when he essentially said that "if you don't have a good Internet connection, get a 360" before the Xbox One became the Xbox 180.  It's worse than Sony having exactly NOTHING but jabs at Microsoft at their E3 presser.

So, what exactly did Iwata say about this?  Here you go:

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.
Is it just me, or is my "DANGER WILL ROBINSON!" corporate weasel-speak meter off the charts? First, no Iwata, you're wrong.  You do not sell worldwide.  You do not sell your products in mainland China, and you do not sell your products in every single location worldwide.  You sell in the following countries: Japan, the USA, Great Britain, the European Union, *maybe* Russia, and a couple of countries in South America. That's it.  That is not worldwide, sir.  Maybe to you it is, but that ain't worldwide to me.

And your games aren't exactly available in every single country in the world, either.  I still cannot get the Fire Emblem games prior to the GBA's launch in 2001 here in the States unless you get Intelligent Systems on the stick as far as providing remakes of the NES and SNES Fire Emblem games.

AND the DS, the predecessor to the 3DS, actually WAS region free.  But, there was rampant importing of various games and the sales went on a downward spiral as a result.  Plus region-free meant rampant piracy too, and apparently Nintendo won't have any of it.

The idea that Nintendo still region-locks the 3DS and the Wii U because of that corporate weasel speak is bunk.  Iwata, you're REALLY region-locking because of how much importing and piracy happened.  If the Pokemon X & Y GLOBAL LAUNCH in October actually works, it's because people actually wanted that back in the DS days and you never, ever, ever, ever delivered on that.

So, if I want a region-free console, I cannot be Nintendo-only because Nintendo will never, ever, ever deliver on that.  So, I guess I'm getting other consoles that are region free.  Your loss Nintendo.