Nintendo President Satoru Iwata has once again released new information about Nintendo’s next console, which currently goes by the codename NX. The Big N only recently confirmed that its next console was already in development, though legendary game creator Shigeru Miyamoto had unofficially revealed this months before. Nothing has been revealed about the console aside of the codename, but Iwata has just confirmed Nintendo is considering removing region-locking from the NX, allowing discs to be played globally instead of locked to specific regions.
The practice of region-locking has already been phased out from Microsoft and Sony, both of which conclusively disabled the feature on disc content and, for the most part, digitally (some PS4 users need to register US PlayStation accounts to grab US-based deals, but they can do it from anywhere). Nintendo has been comparatively left in the dust with their current generation devices all being region-locked, which is why making its next console region-free is a move that makes sense for the company.
Speaking to investors at a recent stockholder meeting, Nintendo’s President confirmed that whilst it’s too late to remove region-locking from the Wii U and 3DS, the next Nintendo console may have a better chance at being more ‘global friendly’.
“Removing region-locking from current game machines presents various issues, so we don’t consider that to be very realistic. However, regarding NX, given the customer feedback and proposals from the market, while nothing has been decided yet, we’re currently investigating internally what problems there would be in realizing it. You can think of that as the current situation. I understand your desire, so I’d like to look at it optimistically going forward.”
Iwata had stated earlier that the Nintendo NX console would change life for video game consumers, which are bold words by anyone’s standards. With Iwata stating that ‘expanding on existing hardware would be dull’, it’s clear that Nintendo believes the NX will be a revolutionary piece of hardware. Nintendo took the gaming world by storm with the introduction of mainstream motion-based gaming, and with virtual reality headsets set to enter the marketplace in the next year, the stage is set for technological innovation. With region-locking offering no benefits to videogame consumers, it may quickly become a thing of the past within the next console’s lifespan.
Nintendo has bled money several years in a row, and only recently did the company turn a corner and begin reporting a profit. The upcoming NX console will be an important attempt in redeeming lost profit from a disappointing Wii U sales period, and removing region locking from the next console may encourage consumers to purchase more games that they otherwise wouldn’t have – with the bonus that it’ll keep Nintendo competitive with Microsoft and Sony.
It’s important to keep in mind that whilst Iwata said he was optimistic about the prospect of the Nintendo NX coming without region-locking, the console is still in the early stages of development and things could change at any moment. His statement may have pleased investors, but only time will tell if Nintendo will follow through on this idea.
What do you think about the NX potentially becoming region-free, Ranters? Do you think this is the Wii U should have already had this feature?