Nintendo has hinted that its next generation console will be free from the dreaded region lock. The statement was made by Nintendo President Satoru Iwata during a recent Q&A session with investors, although he did not explicitly say that this would be the case.
Region locking is a massive issue with Nintendo fans, and the company is the only platform that still ties games to specific regions. This is not to say that certain developers do not also do the same thing for their properties. Steam in particular has recently implemented a watered down version of region locks to prevent people from abusing price differences in certain countries.
Iwata said, while “nothing has been decided yet, we’re currently investigating internally what problems there would be in realizing [a region free system]. You can think of that as the current situation. I understand your desire, so I’d like to look at it optimistically going forward.”
Nintendo had previously announced a new console, known only as the NX. There are no other details provided about this next generation machine, but it is expected to replace the underperforming WiiU.
While it looks like Nintendo is finally learning the error of its ways, the company will apparently keep region locks active for its current range of consoles. It is assumed that this means region locks will be removed for the NX, and which is likely a move to drive existing customers to upgrade to the new console.
Either way, it is interesting to watch Nintendo attempt to evolve its strategies and remain relevant in the gaming industry. The company has already sign an agreement with mobile game developer DeNA to use Nintendo properties in mobile apps; despite saying that it would never go down that road.