The Internet has enabled us to live in a global society. The vast riches of other cultures are always just a few clicks away. Unfortunately, Nintendo doesn’t seem too adamant on evolving with the times.
The company that Mario built confirmed to CVG that the Wii U will continue the long standing tradition of being region locked. For those unaware, a region lock makes it so that a console can’t play games from other regions. It’s a practice from a bygone era where studios and licensees didn’t want sales from other territories to cannibalize local sales.
Nintendo’s competitors, Microsoft and Sony, have taken a more relaxed approach to region locking. Both companies let the publishers decide which titles to region lock. Fortunately, many publishers choose not to enforce region locking on many of their titles. In fact, Sony boasts that their consoles, the PS3 and PS Vita, are predominantly region free.
Region locking isn’t much of an issue with Nintendo’s consoles as the company has traditionally published all of their titles overseas. It’s become more of an issue in recent years as Nintendo has skipped out on many high-profile titles coming out of their Japanese studios. Most recently, titles like Xenoblade Chronicles and The Last Story were initially passed up, but later localized after fans demanded their release. Other games like Mother 3 remain MIA and will probably stay that way.
It’s unfortunate that Nintendo feels they have to region lock their consoles, but it’s ultimately their decision to make. Besides, it will only be a matter of time before somebody cracks the Wii U and enables region free gaming.