Activision community manager explains region-locking decisions are business oriented


Dan Amrich, Acitivision's community manager, recently took to YouTube to explain the business decisions that so often influence region locking.

Region locking is the practice of restricting software to work only in specified territories. A North American Xbox 360 game, for example, might not run on an Xbox 360 bought in the UK. Responding to a question on if region locking enforced piracy, Amrich quickly pushed the idea away.

"Short version: no, it's not enforcing piracy," Amrich said. "I don't think you're going to ever find any major publisher trying to encourage people to rip them off."

The main reasons region locking exists, Amrich continued, are business oriented. Using an example of a Speed Racer game released only in Japan, Amrich explained that a different company had the game's rights in America.

"You can't infringe on that Japanese company's rights or that American company's rights by releasing the game in the opposite territory if you don't have the legal right to do it," Amrich said. "Region locking sort of helps police who has the rights to make what money in what territory."

Region locking also serves to keep pricing competitive and help developers figure out what's selling where. Another huge issue is the game content itself.

"Is the content that you're releasing in Country A acceptable in Country B?" Amrich said. "Germany is notoriously hard-nosed on things like violent content in video games."

You can view the full video above.

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