Wii U will be region locked, why?

By Mike on 10:52 am

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Nintendo import fans are once again out of luck. Nintendo has announced that the Wii U will be region locked. This isn't a big revelation for the company. Almost every single console to come out of Big N has been. Dating as far back to the classic toaster NES.

Nintendo is currently the only company that has mandatory region locks on their consoles. Both Sony and Microsoft give the choice to developers. The Playstation family is well known for being friendly to the import community, with few games being locked. Notable exceptions include games by Atlas, a big Japanese developer. In fact, it seems this feature is more favoured in Japan that it is by Western publishers.

It's a well known fact that Japanese gamers and otaku are being gouged on media. Resident Evil 6 for example sells for $20 more in its home country than it does in North America. For the same price in the US, you can buy the Resident Evil Anthology, which contains all six games in the series.

The purpose of region locking is simply to make money. More from Asia-Pacific gamers than we in the west. While one could argue the game costs the same or more due to import duties, publishers get less of that money. It also explains why Nintendo has been so hostile to digital download. All a Japanese gamer would need is a North American gift card to grab the game at a significantly cheaper price.

This is a big letdown for import fans. Many popular games don't get global releases for one reason or another. Xenoblade Chronicles was launched in North America a full two years after it's Japanese debut. It's also unfortunate that Nintendo keeps making this choice instead of embracing globalization. Instead they'd rather keep screwing Japanese gamers with artificially higher prices.

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