Unlocking gaming regions through social media

The Division

It’s amazing what power in numbers can do, especially when it comes to the gaming world. For those of you who have been keeping track with the Xbox One, you will know that it wasn’t long ago that Microsoft announced that the previous DRM policies would be lifted, which was great news for those who have been loyal to the brand. Along with this came the news that it would be region-free, not unlike the upcoming Sony PlayStation 4. As far as making this move, only one remains.

Nintendo has seemingly been dead set on keeping not only the 3DS but the Wii U region-locked. For those who might be lost as to what this term entails, allow me to paint a picture for you. Let’s say that you were to purchase a 3DS in North America; only games created in that particular region would work with it. If you wanted to play 3DS games which were only released in Europe, for example, then you would have to shell out even more money to import. This lack of cross-compatibility amongst regions has come under fire recently.

The fans of Nintendo decided to let their voices be heard, as they took to social media in order to air their grievances on the matter. Not only did they utilize Twitter but they posted constantly on the Wii U-exclusive message board, MiiVerse. There have been a number of related posts on said message board, whether you’re talking about simple text or surprisingly well-done drawings. If you have the means, you might as well use them, right?

No matter which platform was utilized, the message remained the same: we want our systems region-free. To them, if Sony and Microsoft would lift such a restriction, why shouldn’t the oldest console and game creator in the world?

This holds a lot of weight for me because I’ve imported a game or two during my life as well. “Hotel Dusk: Room 215” is one of my favorite DS games but its sequel, “Last Window: The Secret of Cape West,” was only released in Japan and Europe, so it never saw the light of day on an international basis. I had to scour eBay for a copy and I was easily able to play it on my old DS. Up until the Nintendo DSi – prior to the 3DS – Nintendo’s handhelds did not institute a region-lock feature.

I wasn’t attempting to take money out of the hands of publishers. Rather, I wanted to play games which never saw releases in America for one reason or another.

There have been doubts about this movement, though, with some believing that Nintendo will not listen. For such doubters, keep in mind that the fans have been instrumental in having titles brought over to America. Not only have English versions of “Xenoblade,” Pandora’s Tower,” and “Pandora’s Tower” been released on the Wii but the long-awaited arrival of SNES classic “Earthbound” is about to hit the Virtual Console as well. This goes to show just how much power a collection of fans can have and that when a group is united, certain challenges are easily won.

Whether or not Nintendo will listen on this matter, though, remains to be seen.

Written by Rob Sutter

Rob Sutter is a writer & SEO specialist for fishbat, an online marketing firm located in Bohemia, NY. He graduated from Farmingdale State University with a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Professional Communications in addition to minoring in English Literature. Outside of writing, he is an avid gamer and professional wrestling fan.
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