Posted on November 01 2014 by Nathanial Rumphol-Janc
The Wii U is the only current generation console that happens to be region locked, a fact not lost on many gaming fans. The 3DS is also region locked, which can be even more infuriating. Region locking prevents importing games without importing new consoles. For us in particular, it has lead to folks in the United States not getting play any of the Tingle games or even Navi’s Trackers. That may seem like a small ordeal, but consider that Fatal Frame V for Wii U may also not come stateside and it can get really frustrating. Apparently Nintendo is considering that very thing in the future, thus it could be possible their next hardware goes region free.
“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.”
This is surely good news that they are at least thinking about how it is good for consumers. Too bad it’s not in place now, as I am sure many in Europe would be willing to import Smash to play it early, or if Zelda U has a staggered release, be able to import that (just like how Hyrule Warriors was staggered). Whatever the case may be, this is the first real sign we have gotten that Nintendo may finally be considering a region free future, even if it may not come until new hardware hits the market.