Region Locking

Here we are in the year 2010 and we still haven’t gotten over the problem with region restrictions on consoles.

Back in 2005 and 2006, Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo made pledges to make their consoles region-free. Do you want to see how far those pledges went?


Started off touting how all its games would be region free. Then, they backtracked and said any games made by Microsoft would be region free. Turns out this ended up being the case, as some games like Steins;Gate are region-locked to Japan only.

Also, you can’t buy Japanese games from Games on Demand if you’re in America, and vice versa. Doesn’t matter if you have a Japanese 360 or not, it is IP-locked. Same goes for their video store.

Finally, programs like 1 vs. 100 are also region-locked by console; even if you have a Canadian IP, if the console isn’t then you can’t go in.


Sony does a little better, but still not enough. All their PS3 and PSP games are touted to be region-free, that’s great. PS2 games are still region locked, though I imagine that’s more related to licensing agreements from the past that just bite them back in the ass.

However, their video stores are country-locked. Canadian users can’t access the US Video Store, and neither can UK users. We also can’t access the Japanese video or comic store. Gee, I wonder why? It’s not like they can compete with one another, since only people who can understand the language will benefit; the rest of the masses not so much.

Also, their comic book reader for the PSP is region-locked. The US comic book reader will not work on UK and Japan PSPs, and the Japan reader won’t work on US and UK PSPs, etc. Guess what this means if someone happened to bring their PSP into Japan, wanted to buy a comic and then read it? Given the PSP has a crappy resolution to begin with, they are better off buying a cold, hard copy of the said comic.


They started off saying they would be region free. Are they in any way? I won’t even go there.

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3 Responses to Region Locking

  1. Andrew says:

    Sigh, I got thorugh the psn region loking by making foreign accounts, but otherwise I am really disappointed on the region lock for ninntendo and microsoft. xbox i can understand, they’ve always been bastards, but nintendo, man that was a disappointment. At least the DS is region free =/

  2. random.idot says:

    well, one of the strange regional issues I got recently was with the PC game “The Void”. Even if you get the digital copy from a store that is willing to sale it to you, the *activation* code won’t work if you are in the wrong region for that code!

    So they will take your money, give you an activations code that won’t work, then ask you to contact the company so that *they* can activate it for you! It toke me the total of 3 days to activate the game that I bought (something I wouldn’t have had to go through had I pirated the bloody thing).

    any way, I understand that need for regional locks when it comes to price control. But why block the sale of an item that does *NOT* exist in the other region? What about the regions that have no distributors (south america, africa and the middle east), why block the sale to *those* regions? I understand the price control…. but when the item/distributors don’t exist, why lock the region out? (especially for *digital* goods?)

  3. Amoirsp says:

    Gah and here I was already hit by region locking with my Taiwan 360, and I hardly even delved the blockade.