UPDATE: Nintendo to Continue Region Locking

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

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Wii U Region Locking

Sometimes crusades fail- a brutal lesson that many Nintendo fans will have to come to realize. As of today, Nintendo is going to keep the use of region locking on their consoles, bringing a temporary setback to a battle to remove the controversial policy.

For those who do not know, there has been a campaign to convince Nintendo to remove their long practice in using region locking on their consoles, the latest being the Wii U. Led by a member of NeoGAF early last month, the campaign saw a petition on change.org, which reached over 12,500 signatures, a large movement on Twitter, where many hashtags like #EndRegionLocking and #NintendoRegionFree were used, and a large amount of drawings promoting the campaign on the Wii U’s Miiverse service.

Here is what the petition stated:

“Nintendo has been amazing in its attempts to shorten the gap in release dates between different territories (e.g. the worldwide launch of Pokémon X and Y this October) and we are truly grateful for that, but we don’t want region-free consoles just so we can purchase and play some games earlier than usual. We want region-free consoles so that we may exercise our consumer rights to choose what games we play and to thus expand our horizons.”

However, Nintendo did not flinch, and they responded to fans about why they decided to keep the region locking policy. Nintendo stated that they had “no plans to remove region locking” on their systems, as this allowed Nintendo to “include parental controls and ensure compliance with regional standards and rating systems.”

This is quite the shocker, as Nintendo has been getting a lot of heat lately for their questionable decisions, including the banning of Wii U owners online that mention the term “region locking.” However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that Nintendo won’t change their tune about region locking in the future, as even Microsoft found themselves removing the feature after fan pressure.

Do you think Nintendo should remove region locking? Do you think fans should continue the fight to remove it? Let us hear what you have to say.

Update: Due to poor wording, some readers may have believed that the campaign above was dropped, but it is not, and they continue to fight for the removal of region locking on Nintendo systems as we speak. Sorry for the inconvenience.


About Samuel North

A writer at Operation Rainfall, a lover of videogames, and an insomniac who can't tell what day it is. There really isn't much else interesting to say, except that I've eaten an entire box of ramen noodles in one sitting.

  • Johnson Cameron

    “This is quite the shocker, as Nintendo has been getting a lot of heat lately for their questionable decisions, including the banning of Wii U owners online that mention the term “region locking.”

    This is not the only controversial decision they have made. They also went against Let’s Plays and took away their ad revenue(Chuggaaconroy and Zackscottgames etc), which they then reversed after people overwhelmingly went against it. This really does make me question Nintendo about if they are really in it for the consumer, or are they in it for themselves?

    • smacd

      While I don’t like Nintendo’s anti-consumer decisions either, since when is any company not in it for themselves?

      And I hate to say it, but even despite the 3DS being region locked, hardware and software sales are through the roof. Because the average consumer honestly doesn’t give a damn about region lock because it doesn’t affect them. The Wii U has sales issues, but it isn’t because of region locking, its because of a lack of games people want to pay for.

    • Johnson Cameron

      lol true you are extremely right Nintendo mostly has the dedicated casual market,family market, and it’s own Nintendo fans it is hard to force Nintendo to change really.Thing is people need to be vocal and tell Nintendo that they will not buy their system or their new games or anything like that until they allow no region locking on systems.

      People need to know the benefits of a non region locked system, and if they know why it is a great thing, more people will support it and we can get Nintendo to cave into allowing no region locking

    • Guest

      lol true you are extremely right Nintendo mostly has the dedicated casual market,family market, and it’s own Nintendo fans it is hard to force Nintendo to change really.Thing is people need to be vocal and tell Nintendo that they will not buy their system or their new games or anything like that until they allow no region locking on systems.

      People need to know the benefits of a non region locked system, and if they know why it is a great thing, more people will support it and we can get Nintendo to cave into allowing no region locking.

    • Aiddon

      though the Let’s Plays were actually against the Youtube partners EULA; you’re not supposed to be allowed to earn revenue off Let’s Plays so Nintendo wasn’t actually in the wrong there.

    • Johnson Cameron

      I never said Nintendo was in the wrong, they have every right to protect their IP, but the problem is they did not deserve to claim 100% revenue from Let’s Players. Allow me to explain, when someone creates something using their work and makes it into their own unique experience, therefore being a transformative work, the person who does that therefore owns it.

      It is kind of like if i bought a Sony camera, and somehow that camera is in a video and i was using it to create a music video, Sony does not own it even though they were in the video.

    • SecretX

      i see what your trying to say but they should really find better jobs if they are making a living doing that and it’s not like they took so much money from the let’s play videos.

    • Xanedis

      They did take 100% of the revenue. As a person who is familiar with the subject, I can tell it is true.
      What’s your beef with let’s players anyway? Seriously, if one makes a living by putting videos to internet, that’s his business(pun internet).
      In any case, I can see where Nintendo is coming from. Even if I absolutely hate the fact that I may never be able to play Rune Factory 4 or that I can only play Shin Megami Tensei 4 later down the line, I can still understand their decisions. I cannot myself begin boicotting their decision either, since 3DS is my main console, for which all the best games(in my humble opinion) are coming now(mostly JPRGS).

    • Shadao

      I believe that’s the problem in Youtube’s policy, not Nintendo. It’s all or none; No compromise, no divided revenue.

    • Johnson Cameron

      Licensing agreements, and also fair use. But if it does not have commentary, etc then yes they do not deserve ad revenue etc like you have said.

    • Aiddon

      pretty much; like I said, Let’s Plays aren’t actually allowed to be monetized under the Youtube Partners EULA so LP’ers didn’t play by the rules and got a (rightful) wakeup call. If they wanna do LP’s there are other places like UStream and Blip.

    • Aiddon

      Let me say this again: YOU AREN’T ALLOWED TO MAKE REVENUE OFF OF LET’S PLAYS. PERIOD. The Let’s Players broke the rules and they got a wakeup call. Boo-freaking-hoo. Nintendo had every legal right to claim that revenue

    • Johnson Cameron

      No that’s not true, just because you say it’s not true, does not mean it is true. You can make revenue because when you buy the game, you bought the license to use it. This is not like the Music and Movie industry. Plus when you edit something on a video and put your own spin on something that is unique in itself, it is then “Transforming” the work being that it is a transformative work, covered under fair use.

      So no Nintendo did not have every right to steal 100% of the ad revenue they did not do Chuggaaconroy’s video editing or even Zackscottgames etc and upload the footage for them.

      Copyright infringement only means is if it is a straight port of the game, and you did not buy the game at all and are stealing it, then selling it online, then yes you do not deserve ad-revenue and therefore are stealing, plus it is copyright infringement and is the definition of Copyright infringement.

      You have done no research about what you are saying. Granted Fair Use is not always a tough case but it does tip it in favor of those who have used it for fair use purposes, and companies like Thegamestation, Machinima etc file licensing agreements with Nintendo before signing people into contract.

      So do not give me the excuse that Nintendo did not make money when people played their games, they had a 15% cut of ad-revenue when someone played their games.

    • Aiddon

      what does this say? WHAT DOES IT FREAKING SAY!?:



      Oh, looks like the cookie just crumbled. Let’s Plays are not protected under Youtube’s EULA, you’re just being ignorant. I know what fair use is, but Let’s Plays are neither A) Educational like a review or a preview or B) Parody like machinima.

      Fact of the matter is this: let’s players didn’t look at the rules, the broke the rules, and they realized they should have played by them. When you break an agreement, you lose the right to complain. End of discussion, find someone else to whine at.

    • Johnson Cameron

      You just cherry picked my argument and therefore have left yourself vulnurable to me. Look closely at what i just told you.

      “Granted Fair Use is NOT ALWAYS a tough case but it does tip it in favor of those who have used it for fair use purposes, and companies like Thegamestation, Machinima etc file LICENSING AGREEMENTS with Nintendo before signing people into contract.”

      Yes i said it, Fair Use is not always going to protect people on every single incident, you are right, but Licensing Agreements with corperations like Nintendo, so that way they get money from ad revenue. This is how companies like TheGameStation and Machinima operate.

      No i am not ignorant, have you ever watched Chuggaaconroy or HCBailly’s content?, they are educating people on what the game is about, and are creating a walkthrough for people who are stuck on a certain level(like a visual strategy guide).

      Only certain Let’s Players broke the rules and have abused the system you are right, but not ALL of them did.

      You have forfeited and therefore have surrendered victory to me.Thank you for the discussion and happy 4th of July.

  • Vinicius

    Damn, Nintendo is transforming into the new Microsoft.

    • Cesar Barroso

      really? explain yourself…

    • Vinicius

      Okay, I expressed myself badly here, what I was trying to say is that they are becoming unlikable to some consumers recently.

    • SecretX

      it’s really minor problems that people make it a big deal.

    • Shadao

      Nintendo is nothing like Microsoft. Nintendo negativity affects only a few consumers with their policies. Microsoft’s policies, on the other hand, affects all of the consumers, be it 24 hour Internet check-in, DRM, used-game licensed fee or the mandatory Kinect. You know, stuff the mass audience found find to be the problem.

  • Jeremy Collum

    It doesn’t surprise me that they would take a stance against reversing region locking since Nintendo has been a company pretty firm on their stances and not likely to back pedal even if it hurts their business, what does shock me is them having a practice like banning users just for protesting I really feel that’s overly harsh for Nintendo. I probably shouldn’t buy a WiiU right away. Bad Nintendo!

  • AgelessKnight

    Is it even possible to unlock a console after it’s already been released? I mean, didn’t Nintendo already say their next console will be region-free so there was that. But the bit of unlocking the current two, is that even possible?

    • Charlotte Buckingham

      Where did they say that? I haven’t heard that at all. Any sources?

    • smacd

      It could probably be done with a firmware update, unless its built into the hardware. And even then, its probably possible.

    • Ben Brocka

      The Xbox One’s region lock removal is almost certainly done on the software side. They’ve probably already started production, I really doubt they could sneak in any significant hardware changes without delaying the console at this point.

  • SecretX

    it’s not a big deal people! besides nintendo could fix this if they publish more games from japan.

    • Charlotte Buckingham

      If they did, yes. But if they don’t, well, why should we miss out on a great game because they couldn’t be bothered or saw no profit in it?

      The reasons they’ve been citing, differences in regional cultures and legal reasons – absolute bull. If they were really an issue, neither the PS4 nor the XBOne would be region-free – and Nintendo’s own original DS wouldn’t have been either. They’re money-grubbing, and they need to be called out on it.

    • SecretX

      i really doubt they put region locking because they couldn’t see a profit from it. i say we should fight having more games being publish than telling them their consoles should be region free. XBOne is dead in japan so region locking doesn’t really matter for them.

    • Charlotte Buckingham

      Why should we have to fight for it? Also, who’s going to head up all those campaigns? Will you, since you’re so keen on the idea? Why can’t Nintendo just bring over games that have a market? Why can’t people have the option to import games they really want to play?

      I cannot stand region-locking. There have been so many games the PAL region have missed out on in the past, and even the NTSC region as well. Region-locking should not exist, so that gamers can get the game they want, regardless of whether or not a publisher picks it up. How would you feel if you had to wait till 2009 for Chrono Trigger?

    • Persona

      In Latin America we have a region locking inside the region T-T we can’t purchase games from the e-shop, (we can but only if we change our region to USA… and this is illegal)

      Nintendo of “America” is not for all America is only for the USA and Canada…

    • SecretX

      sounds pretty selfish if ask me because it sounds like people who can understand the language could only buy the game its the only reason everyone wants region free.

      if it did became region free then good for you guys but to others than cant understand the language its really a down side. i rather support localization then this. but thats my opinion.

    • Charlotte Buckingham

      I’d rather support localisation as well, and yes, stuff usually gets localised. But if a no one picks a game up, there should be an option for hard core fans to localise it.

      I also fail to see why region-locking is relevant at all. If hard core fans want to import, that will just make Nintendo money. The reasons they’ve given for region-locking are clearly bull because MS and Sony have region-free consoles. That’s my big issue here: I don’t see any of their logic, and that shits me.

    • NinTemple

      Yea, but with all the negative attention around MS (and to a much lesser extent Sony)’s questionable software freedoms, we can’t let Nintendo appear innocent by comparison! People have to find SOMETHING to ride Nintendo about!!

  • James Best

    Just keep the localizations coming, Nintendo, and the region-locking won’t even matter.

  • Aiddon

    not surprising; region-locking isn’t exactly a make or break for most people

  • An Tran

    Sony does what Nintendon’t.

    Seriously, Sony’s modern consoles are region-free and STILL have competent parental controls. Nintendo isn’t giving us the whole truth. I really don’t want to have to buy another 3DS later. With Sony, I only need to buy ONE Vita.

    • NinTemple

      “With Sony, I only need to buy ONE Vita.”

      “Need” is such a strong word, isn’t it?

      ahhh, I’m just ribbin’ ya!

  • NinTemple

    I would like region-free platforms. But, I mean, this ain’t really a big deal, fellas. The games we want to play tend to get localized 9 times outta 10. And if that number is any lower for you, you probably learned Japanese years ago and buy import platforms.

  • James Fox

    What a bunch of hypocritical cunts you Op Rainfallers are, You will bust your balls to bring 3 JRPGs to the US but not help those that desire the region locks on the Wii U and the 3DS to be removed

    Who gives a fuck about what Iwata said about this, Didn’t they say no to you guys numerous times before they caved in?

  • James Fox

    Op Rainfall – too lazy to endorse a rally for the removal Wii U and 3DS region locking

    That’s right folks, Op Rainfall doesn’t want us to play
    – Any of the Taiko no Tatsujin Wii or 3DS games
    – Project Mirai 1 and 2
    – EX Troopers
    – Zoo Keeper 3D
    – Time Travelers
    on our american 3DSes and Wii Us (The listed aren’t coming here, no publisher will touch Zoo Keeper 3D with a 10 ft. pole even if they cared)

  • Iwata lies again

    Here’s some more bullshit from Nintendo:


    Nintendo is an old man set in his archaic ways, while simtaneously lying to our fucking faces. The DS wasn’t region locked, so don’t say it can’t be done.

    Microsoft did a 180 on region locking in ONE WEEK, so there obviously aren’t that many hoops to jump through.

    The truth is, Nintendo region locks not so people can’t import from Japan, but the opposite – to prevent the Japanese from importing other versions and circumvent the obscene Japanese pricing. It’s greed, pure and simple.

  • James

    Well, What’s the excuse of Nintendo releasing Mario and Luigi Dream Team a WHOLE MONTH after the rest of the world was released in July. What’s the excuse of Nintendo constantly refusing to release great games in America and instead getting shovelware? I think Nintendo is using region locking to treat Americans like dirt.
    Oh, yea, and the only thing that we got with “user generated content” is Miiverse. Yea, Create text to talk with other people. Oh, yea. That’s really creative. How about letting us create your own levels in Mario 3D world or our own tracks in Mario Kart 8.