One of the more pleasant aspects of the upcoming console generation is the lack of region locking restrictions. Where Microsoft looked to bring the DRM hammer down earlier this year, fan backlash eventually convinced the company to do right by its consumers and remove the much-loathed feature from play.
Now with Nintendo the only major console producer yet to do away with the anti-piracy tech, fans of the ‘Big N’ are calling upon the company to abolish its outdated safeguards altogether.
Working through petition-tallying website Change.org, Josh Stevens, organizer of the 15,000 signee-strong ‘Stop region blocking — Make the 3DS and Wii U Region Free’ appeal, is eager to stress his admiration for the Nintendo brand, but feels that the company’s attempts to reduce release date latencies between regions is missing a wider point.
“Nintendo has been amazing in its attempts to shorten the gap in release dates between different territories…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.”
Nintendo’s approach to the hot-button issue of Digital Rights Management has been more aggressive than most in recent years. The company’s first few handhelds were all region free, allowing everyone from serving soldiers to expatriate and multi-lingual players to enjoy their games as they saw fit. Sadly, the practice came to an abrupt halt in 2009 with the release of the Nintendo DSi.
The company recently defended their use of region locking tech as a means of aiding parents who wished to set region specific controls. While the idea is laudable enough, a company with Nintendo’s intellectual clout ought to be able to incorporate age-gated options without impeding other players. As Stevens argues, the policy may well be costing the company millions of dollars in revenue, and could even have prevented certain franchises from achieving global success:
“…region-free policies encourage the additional sales of legitimate software that cannot otherwise be obtained in a given country; the money would still go to Nintendo, the developers and the distributors behind each game.”
Despite the wealth of backing the petition has already received, Nintendo will likely find it hard to ditch one of their major piracy-prevention tentpoles. Just last month Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto called the fight against piracy one of Ninty’s top priorities.
So does Nintendo have a leg to stand on, or should they follow Sony and Microsoft’s lead? What kind of anti-piracy features will replace region locking and what titles have you missed out on thanks to restrictive DRM policies? Have your say in the comments section below and keep your eyes on Game Rant for any response from Nintendo.
Follow Sam on Twitter @GamingGoo.