• Hey, guest user. Hope you're enjoying NeoGAF! Have you considered registering for an account? Come join us and add your take to the daily discourse.
  • Hey Guest. Check out the NeoGAF 2.2 Update Thread for details on our new Giphy integration and other new features.

Iwata addresses region-locking at Nintendo investor Q&A

Cheesemeister

Member
Feb 14, 2005
10,973
2
0
Kyoto, Japan
New thread for news.
Japanese: http://www.nintendo.co.jp/ir/library/events/141030qa/02.html
English: http://www.nintendo.co.jp/ir/en/library/events/141030qa/02.html

Official translation...

Q4: Currently, Nintendo hardware and games are region-locked in territories throughout the world, so that a game purchased in one region cannot be played in another. Are there plans to do away with that restriction and unlock them?

A4: Iwata: There have been various conditions at play in the game business, such as a history of localization taking an extremely long time, a variety of marketing constraints and circumstances in each country, and the fact that the license needed to sell games have not always been granted globally. In a sense, the region-lock has existed more for reasons having to do with the seller than the consumers. That has been the situation throughout the history of video game systems, and as for what should be done going forward, there may be advantages for the consumers and also for us if they were unlocked. Conversely, unlocking them would mean having to resolve different issues that would subsequently arise. While we have not decided whether we will unlock them or not, we do recognize that it is an issue that needs to be considered in the future.

My unofficial translation, for your reference...
Q4: At present, your company's hardware and games make use of region-locking, by which games purchased in one region cannot be played in another region. Are there any plans to unlock this restriction?

A4: Iwata: The game business has a history of taking a very long time with localization among other things, such as having to deal with various issues of marketing in each particular country, or games that have made use of licensed content that did not apply globally, and had all kinds of circumstances, so to say, that region-locking has existed due to circumstances on the sellers' side rather than for the sake of the customers. In the history of game consoles, that is the current situation. As for what should be done going forward, if unlocked for the benefit of the customers, there may also be a benefit for us. Conversely, unlocking would require various problems to be solved, so while I can't say today whether or not we intend to unlock, we realize that it is one thing that we must consider looking to the future.

It's the first positive feedback so far!

Previously:
#NintendoRegionFree 2014 STARTS NOW!
Let's convince Nintendo to go region-free!

Petition: https://www.change.org/p/nintendo-stop-region-blocking-make-the-3ds-and-wii-u-region-free
Twitter: Follow @EndRegionLock, tweet to Nintendo under #EndRegionLocking and #NintendoRegionFree.
 
Feb 3, 2007
10,323
1
1,110
I think the more Digital Distribution is embraced by Nintendo the less they will see the reason for region locking.

I can't help but feel the reason they have it now is at least partially they don't want anyone making money off of their products that isn't them (ie importers)
 

TheMoon

Member
Jul 1, 2014
21,766
6
475
Sounds good to me. Hopefully this will bear fruits for the next generation of Nintendo hardware!
 

L~A

Member
Jan 19, 2013
12,188
0
610
Wow. Baby stops?

Ha ha, nice typo ;)

Problem with region-locking: it's a non-issue for the vast majority of people. Only reason Sony made such a big deal of it last year was because of Microsoft horrid policies before their 180.

Most people just don't give a damn, so Nintendo can't really feel the pressure. I mean, if it's taking so long for them to improve their account system, which is something lots of people care about, then imagine what it must be like for region-locking :(
 

Xater

Member
Jul 28, 2007
48,003
4
0
Conversely, unlocking would require various problems to be solved

What exactly would these problems be? Somehow it doesn't seem like the other console manufacturers ran into any problems.
 

rpmurphy

Member
Dec 6, 2008
14,945
0
0
At least that's some insight into why they put it there. Whether they would work towards a region-free system, I dunno. Why couldn't they have at least done a half-measure: the model where the publisher decides whether or not to region-lock their game?
 

Reszo

Member
Feb 15, 2012
1,082
0
475
What problems come with making their consoles region-free? I don't understand, someone explain.
 

Arttemis

Member
Jul 11, 2013
5,107
0
0
By the sounds of it, Nintendo's next system might be released in the same decade when region locking is considered by Nintendo to be potentially dropped.
 

Kathian

Banned
Jul 16, 2014
4,788
0
0
If Nintendo still sees the likes of Square refusing to localise then I think they'll release an unlocked console. It looks like whatever Nintendo release globally on their systems 95% of the time they will have to be the localiser or partnered with them - e.g. Bravely Default and Monster Hunter (to a lesser degree but theres a clear joint partnership there).

Why worry if you control 100% of the efforts?
 

moltonasty

Member
Apr 11, 2013
4,970
1
495
Flushing, NY
This sounds...not as terrible as I expected it would be. Imagine the day when you can play a next gen nintendo console with no region locks and a fully up to industry standard online account system. :0
 
Jun 10, 2014
17,188
3
0


This will result in more games sold, on my part atleast.
 

Novocaine

Member
May 5, 2013
8,329
1
0
38
'Straya
Come on Ninty. Region free games and digital purchases tied to an account rather than a system and I just might love you again!
 

roknin

Member
Jun 3, 2013
1,677
0
0
So you're saying that...there's a chance? :D

Which is weird because prior to the DS (or was it 3DS that introduced region-locking on their handhelds? I can't remember actually lol), I could play any and all GBA games just fine on my SP.

I really hope this is indicative of the future. I'd love to be able to get Ninty games from differing regions (who am I kidding? other regions = Japan) without the need to buy a console for each or do Homebrew ala last gen.

Especially when they still seem so gun-shy about bringing certain things over.
 

Acquiescence

Member
Mar 5, 2011
26,040
30
775
The moment they go region free is the moment I start buying Nintendo games from America, rather than not buying them at all.
 

Kathian

Banned
Jul 16, 2014
4,788
0
0
What problems come with making their consoles region-free? I don't understand, someone explain.

Core Fans purchase games from the other region before localisation efforts can be complete; making it difficult to put up at retail. Retail is the main reason and with digital only releases its really not as important going forward.

I think its a bigger issue for the PAL and NA markets over Asia and RoW.
 

nintendors

Member
Sep 10, 2011
517
0
0


I went to 3 different countries to look for Bayonetta 2 NTSC version (excluding my own)


And could only find the PAL version.....


Thank god Nintendo is finally considering how shitty region locking for foreign costumers like me
 

Molemitts

Member
Jul 11, 2014
2,764
0
0
UK
molemitts.wordpress.com
Nintendo are working on their next console, right? This is the right time to push them to end region locking. Even if it doesn't happen with the Wii U or 3DS, their next set of consoles and handhelds should not be region locked. Hopefully Iwata is starting to realise that.
 

gngf123

Member
Jan 27, 2013
8,379
7
0
Which is weird because prior to the DS (or was it 3DS that introduced region-locking on their handhelds? I can't remember actually lol), I could play any and all GBA games just fine on my SP.

I really hope this is indicative of the future. I'd love to be able to get Ninty games from differing regions (who am I kidding? other regions = Japan) without the need to buy a console for each or do Homebrew ala last gen.

Especially when they still seem so gun-shy about bringing certain things over.

The DS was region free. It was the DSi that introduced it, but only for a handful of DSi enhanced games.

For me, other regions basically means US imports. Fucking Atlus and their late/non-existent EU releases...
 
Feb 17, 2012
7,912
0
590
That's better than nothing, I guess.

Hard to justify with the fact that they have introduced region locking into handhelds where it previously didn't exist.
 
Feb 3, 2007
10,323
1
1,110
Which is weird because prior to the DS (or was it 3DS that introduced region-locking on their handhelds? I can't remember actually lol), I could play any and all GBA games just fine on my SP.

DS was region free (I know, I have both Jump SuperStars which are never going to get out of Japan), the DSi introduced region locking but only for DSi specific titles / features.

3DS went full lock.

EDIT: beat