Nintendo Confirms that Wii U will be Region Locked
A post on CVG today reports a detail about Nintendo’s forthcoming Wii U console that really should’ve been something we all saw coming: the system will be region locked, meaning that if you buy it in the United States, it will only be able to play games made for that region. That means no easy importing of Japanese-exclusive games.
As the post points out, Nintendo’s consoles have all been region locked, starting with the original NES and going all the way down the line to today. The fact that we’re reporting on it at all, though, stems from the status of region locking today. As the post also points out, Sony and Microsoft’s consoles are not region locked by default. Those companies allow the game publishers themselves to determine whether or not they want their games to stay in one place.
There isn’t much reason to region lock anymore, either. Because of the ease of online commerce and instantaneous global communication, obtaining imports isn’t hard at all. I remember when I was in high school, we had a Sega Saturn console that was modded so it could switch regions with a flick of a button on the back. So when I wanted to import X-Men vs. Street Fighter from Japan, I had to go and find a game store that specialized in imports, and drop a whole ton of cash to get it done.
These days, though, I could probably just go on eBay or any one of a dozen other sites to get my overseas gaming fix. What could Nintendo’s justification be for continued region locking? Probably nothing more than the fact that they’re Nintendo, and they want control over just about everything. Let’s not forget: sending messages and drawings to your friends over the Wii U’s network will be subject to moderation. With that level of oversight over something as simple as communication, region locking for this company starts to make a lot more sense.