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The Wii U is locked, region locked that is

By: Moses Abaortae

  |   September 26th, 2012   |  

Nintendo announce that their upcoming home console will be locked according to regions, much like its previous console as many wonder whether it is a smart move by the manufacturer or not.

There are a number of ways manufacturers can please consumers in the video game industry. Pricing, free content, access to exclusive features and customer support are a few. On the flip side, there are even more ways they can annoy those very same consumers and one of those ways is region locking content.

For those who are not aware of the region locking phenomenon, it basically has to do with certain content being locked for different regions. Many may have seen the number 1, 2 or 3 on the side of their PlayStation 3 game cover and wondered what it meant. Well, its pretty much the same thing, as each number represents a region.

To many people’s inexperience and misfortune, certain games do not work on a different region’s console. The same is set to be the case with Nintendo, although it was nearly always the case with the manufacturer’s consoles, at least with the Wii it was.

This is an interesting move by Nintendo, as many would have liked the console to be more ‘free’ in a way. However, this strategy does put Nintendo at an advantage as the company can price content differently and make specific extra content available to certain regions.

Both Sony and Microsoft adopt a policy of letting the game’s publisher choose whether they want to region lock content or not but it seems Nintendo is not affording that liberty to its publishers and developers.

The move is especially worth noticing after Sony announced that content for the portable console, the PlayStation Vita, was region free, although certain content can only be accessed by having the relevant PlayStation Network account.

Nintendo will have made sure that the news is released at the right time, as there are still some consumers on the fence regarding whether or not they will purchase the console. The overwhelming majority however, have already splashed the cash and pre-ordered their Wii U consoles.

With an impressive launch line up that consists of both first-party and triple-A third-party developers, there is plenty for every gamer to choose from. Be it Mass Effect 3 or Batman: Arkham City, Assassin’s Creed 3 or ZombiU or even Nintendo Land, as well as a Mario game thrown in for good measure. The Wii U will appeal to a wider segment of the gamer market as compared to the party and casual gamer oriented Wii.

But what do the readers make of the news; does the region locking of the Wii U affect their decision to buy the console or is it nothing major in their book? Let us know in the comments section below.