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Nintendo restates commitment to region locking

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One regular complaint about Nintendo is its historic and ongoing commitment to region locking, making sure that consumers who buy hardware in one part of the world, can only play games officially released in that same region.

According to Nintendo president Satoru Iwata, the company has good reason to stick to its policy, which goes all the way back to the NES, released in the mid-1980s.

"I hope that game fans can understand that the industry isn't doing this solely out of business ego," Iwata said, in an interview with IGN. "There are some reasons behind it."

Companies like Nintendo region lock their consoles in order to protect international subsidiaries and core retail relationships, by cutting down on the import business. The practice is seen as especially irksome for people who spend long periods of time abroad, like military personnel. Sony and Microsoft have backed away from region locking, although they leave the option open to publishers.

"From some people's perspective, it might seem like a kind of restriction," said Iwata. "However, we hope people can appreciate the fact that we're selling our products worldwide. There are many different regions around the world, and each region has its own cultural acceptance and legal restrictions, as well as different age ratings. There are always things that we're required to do in each different region, which may go counter to the idea that players around the world want the freedom to play whatever they want. "