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Wii Now Confirmed to Not be Region-Free 307

legoburner writes "Contrary to an earlier Slashdot story, Nintendo have now stated that the Wii will not be region free. The original claim came from Nintendo America, but Nintendo UK have gone on record denying the claims. They put it rather bluntly, stating: 'We are region-locked,' and that Nintendo America made a mistake by claiming otherwise."
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Wii Now Confirmed to Not be Region-Free

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  • WTF? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LiquidCoooled ( 634315 ) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @10:27AM (#16120072) Homepage Journal
    No one is certain..

    Title: Wii Now Confirmed to Not be Region-Free

    Next line: Nintendo have now stated that the Wii will not be region free.

    Bit lower: They put it rather bluntly, stating: 'We are region-locked,' and that Nintendo America made a mistake by claiming otherwise.

    Whos right?
    • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Koiu Lpoi ( 632570 ) <koiulpoi AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday September 16, 2006 @10:30AM (#16120076)
      What we might see is that NTSC/American Wiis are pseudo region free (for 1st party games), while the PAL/UK versions have region codes in the 1st party games. The other story said that developers could region lock games if they saw fit.
      • Yeah, it's a Region war... the Allied NTSC against the Axis of PAL. But seriously, it sounds like it's just like that, and I'm guessing that there will be two reginons, maybe three (Australia). Nintendo and Nintendo of America have been growing pretty close, it seems, but the foundering EU Nintendo sales have made European branch a bit defensive, and worried that they're being ignored and crapped upon by the other branches. When you hear statements like this, especially one branch out-right publicly shaming

    • Ahhh, all three of those say the same thing. region-locked = not region free. Let me try to make it even more clear in case region-locked and region free don't have much meaning to you. If you buy a game from overseas (Japan, US, etc) it won't play if you live and bought your Wii in the UK.
    • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Clueless Moron ( 548336 ) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @11:24AM (#16120255)
      Let met put it this way: it is untrue that it is not the case that the Wii will fail to not be region-locked. Clear?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 16, 2006 @10:31AM (#16120081)
    Wii where wrong.
  • by darien ( 180561 ) <> on Saturday September 16, 2006 @10:31AM (#16120082)
    All together now: 'Wii shall not, Wii shall not be moved...'

    Because it's region-locked, you see...

    Oh, never mind.
  • hm (Score:3, Interesting)

    by joe 155 ( 937621 ) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @10:34AM (#16120095) Journal
    I think that this is a shame, although my DS is region free and I've never bought a game from either America or Japan, so it's not going to be too big of a problem to be. I doubt many people will be upset about this. Still, it's a shame.

    • Well, when I went to Tokyo last week I had to pass up dozens of awesome looking console games that I really wanted to purchase. I ended up spending all that money on DS games instead, knowing that they would play in my system. The DVD's on the other hand were a pain in the ass; if not for my region-hacked laptop hooked up to my TV I would have never even looked at their collection. Owning the uncut DVD for the new Jet Li film before it's even out in US theaters is pretty freaking sweet, getting to watch it
  • by Bionic_Baboon ( 684462 ) <(professortorcoolguy) (at) (> on Saturday September 16, 2006 @10:38AM (#16120102)
    I'm waiting for the word from Nintendo of Japan before I believe anything.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by moo083 ( 716213 )
      You are exactly right. I want to hear the words from Iwata or Miyamoto, etc, instead of some guy who is the VP of marketing or something. I want to hear it from the people in charge who are running the show. That is the only way I will believe either way.
    • I'm waiting for the word from Nintendo of Japan before I believe anything.

      Oh come on. Now, I know fanbois generally have the habit of accepting any good rumors and denying any bad news, but you're just being silly. It's not like this was a rumor from the "Interweb", but something that's been confirmed several times (see the links in the original story). Here's in all likelihood what happened:

      1) VP of Marketing at US conference announces that Wii is not region locked for some reason (probably some a mistake/

  • Is it that hard? The dollar/pound/euro/yen is the only voice they'll hear.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      That might even be viable, if so many people wern't already pre-boycotting PS3.
      • by Perseid ( 660451 )
        A pre-boycott? Do I have to sign a little sheet in the video game store for that or can I just do it online? And do they require some sort of pre-refund to secure your place in the pre-boycott?
  • by clu76 ( 620823 ) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @10:46AM (#16120127) Homepage
    I think it would be helpful if there was a direct quote from Perrin Kaplan. The best I could find is this:
    "Like the Nintendo DS, the Wii will be able to play games from other regions, such as Japan, without any restriction. Kaplan implied there might be a region lock that publishers would be able to flip on, but it doesn't sound like the first-party titles from Nintendo will be restricted." - Joel Johnson, Wired []
    Could it be possible that this whole region free rumor was started by a mistake. Even Joel Johnson's quote implies, "there might be a region lock that publishers would be able to flip on." And even then, Johnson isn't completely firm about the Nintendo's own region stance when he says, "but it doesn't sound like the first-party titles from Nintendo will be restricted." Doesn't sound like?
    • Could it be possible that this whole region free rumor was started by a mistake.

      Imagine you were Nintendo, and not sure about how region locking actually affects sales because there is no hard data on that. Would you consider collecting the data yourself? As in, have two lackeys make contradictory announcements, and watch the customer responses?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Imagine you were Nintendo, and not sure about how region locking actually affects sales because there is no hard data on that. Would you consider collecting the data yourself? As in, have two lackeys make contradictory announcements, and watch the customer responses?

        No, because the people who have a propensity to respond to such announcements likely do not accurately represent the whole set of people who are interested in buying the product. A) they are much more tech savvy and care about all these day-to-d
      • Imagine you were Nintendo, and not sure about how region locking actually affects sales because there is no hard data on that. Would you consider collecting the data yourself? As in, have two lackeys make contradictory announcements, and watch the customer responses?

        No. Nintendo is a large enough entity that they can afford doing their own customer surveys, polling, studies, etc. rather than "testing the public" through mistakes in their press conferences. You would also do such investigation MUCH earlier,

    • by clu76 ( 620823 ) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @11:22AM (#16120246) Homepage
      Found my quote. Had to watch a 20 minute video to get it.

      Robert Summa of Destructoid [] asked Perrin Kaplan, "Is everything region free." Kaplan replied, "Yes. Yeah. Which is a good thing. I've actually had several people ask that of me today."

      Here's the video. [] The quote is near the end. The quote is about 18 minutes in.
  • by owlnation ( 858981 ) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @11:03AM (#16120173)
    If it is locked - and I don't really know what the overall conclusion from this article is either - then it's certainly bad news for the UK gamers. Seems that the announced prices for the Wii will make it most expensive in the UK - for reasons that aren't clear to me for one.

    I suspect the reason is the same one as used by every other company - "you're British, if we shaft you on price you won't do anything about it. It's just cos we can charge more that we do."
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Cap'nPedro ( 987782 )
      It's because we have to pay an extra 17.5% Value Added Tax (VAT).

      And, I could be wrong, but there are stricter rule sin the UK about importing some of the chemicals used in technology (leaded solder etc.?).

      Oh, and our TVs are PAL over here; that means different hardware.
      • by daeg ( 828071 )
        Not to mention that the population of the UK is around 62 million, making it a rather small region to Nintendo. They still have to market the console, pay regulatory fees, etc, thus making their cost-per-unit much higher for the UK than other regions like North America (USA + Canada = 345 million). Since Canada and the US have many similar laws and very few foreign company "entrance" fees (low import tax), their fees are rather low per unit.

        Europe is an expensive market to get into for non-European companie
        • I would not extensively say that the UK is so much of a hazzle, the language is the same as the US so no extra translation costs, and the EU is a central market servicable from a central point, just like the US. I dont see any reason for the 15-17% price difference at all (VAT already counted out) (Well even the income of the employees is lower than what they have to pay in the IS), except for pure greed. Apple does the same, and I in the long run over the year has cost Apple millions over here, due to the
    • Seems that the announced prices for the Wii will make it most expensive in the UK - for reasons that aren't clear to me for one.
      This has always been the case in the UK, and the reasons have never been made clear - other than companies seem to be able to screw us harder than in other countries.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Albanach ( 527650 )
      It's worth bearing in mind that VAT in the UK runs at 17.5%. - other prices (certainly in the US) don't include local sales tax as it varies state to state.

      So, for example a UK price of £179 converts to a $US price of 336 or a VAT free price of 285. So there's still a bit of a mark up against as US price of $250, but it's around 15% rather than some of the inflated differences mentioned elsewhere.

    • Half your own fault, while we in the Euro zone constantly get shafted over a hidden 1:1 price screw the dumbasses parity between continental EU and the Dollar zone, you get shafted over a hidden screw the dumbasses 1:1 parity between continental EU And UK... You cannot count the VAT in this case, due to the fact that with 17% the UK Vat is along european average (Germany being 16% and soon moving towards 19 and 20% in my country) You at least woult not get shafted on the prices between Euro and Pound if yo
  • Forget it then (Score:3, Informative)

    by drsquare ( 530038 ) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @11:09AM (#16120194)
    With the wii already a third more expensive in Britain, no doubt the games will have a similar markup.
    • by radish ( 98371 )
      No, it isn't 30% more expensive. Go look up "sales tax" and "VAT".
      • Re:Forget it then (Score:4, Interesting)

        by MemoryDragon ( 544441 ) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @12:24PM (#16120480)
        Well the current VAT less price in the US for the shovelware bundle, is around 178 Euros, but over here they charge 250 Euros for the same even if you count in 17% VAT average which really is average for europe. You are around 208 Euros, I assume the import taxes are pretty much the same here as in the US so I will leave that out and do not compare it to the japanese price which is way lower (no shovelware bundle to justify the higher price) We have a 16% price difference which goes straight into Nintendos pockets thanks to SCAMMING their own customer base over a self assumed price parity of 1 USD is one Euro...! The rest I can say is get your calc out and do the math yourself...
  • by eboot ( 697478 )
    Actually Ive got the inside scoop on this region issue. Nintendo are constructing a special magical field put around it. Its called the FuckYouEuropeField, whenever a european enters europe with the wrong coded region console/game, the unit will automatically self-destruct, taking the offender, or as Nintendo calls them 'EuroScum', with it.
  • Why is this filed under the "Portable Games" category?
  • /me being pissed (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MemoryDragon ( 544441 ) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @11:40AM (#16120312)
    Dont get me wrong, I am not anti Nintendo, I am as Nintendo neutral as anyone can be. But I can see the history. Nintendo has a long history of stumbling over their own arrogance.

    This time it seems the rule not the exception. They had everything right, the momentum was there after E3, everyone loved the console, which ought to be not the latest in technology bug cheaper than the rest and with a new controller enabling good gaming ideas.

    And now... Scam pricing to ripp off different regions: Hint at Nintendo, even 250 USD is not 250 Euros, even with the VAT calculated out the thing still is more expensive than the US version.

    Enforced bundles so they can hike prices in certain areas: Hint at nintendo, an enforced Wii sports bundle does not help sales, it would have been better to sell the console for 200 and let the people decide which game to buy, in the end you will lose money on that decision.

    Hidden costs: Hint at Nintendo: charging another 60 dollars for another controller set pushes you way over the XBOX360 pricewise.

    Dropped features: No dvd, while not being really important anymore, they could at least have offered dvd as buyable option instead of leaving it out entirely.

    Region Codes: While this was heavily promoted, region codes suck, europeans hate them, some americans as well, go for it Nintendo. You just give certain people a legal justification for selling modchips.

    I have yet to see a single company pissing so many people off in such a short period of time, the discussions in the forums, basically have all the same tone (wtf did you think nintndo i do not want the f*** wee sports just for price hiking) like Nintendo has last week, they had everything in place. Ship the console for 200 Euros no bundle, plain, no discussion lots of sales. They have the DS momentum on their side. Now if Microsoft just drops their prices 50 europs over here, Nintendo lies flat and dead in its starting position and ends up with a Cube like fiasko.
    • by MrJynxx ( 902913 )
      They're not silly enough to keep the price 250 across the board. You're only taking into account the american/euro/pound and comparing the exchange rates from american ->euro/pound which of course will mean more money than just 250USD.

      They've confirmed the Canadian WII will cost 279.99(which is pretty much bang on in terms of exchange rate) and not 250 so I suspect they are careful about the exchange rate.. I'm sure if it was 250 in Canada all of the americans will come up here to buy it!

      • You have not gotten my point entirely, Canada is pretty much at the same price level as the US, while they run the usual, we do a 1:1 250 parity between Dollar and Euro over here, while in fact even with the VAT counted in, the price should be more along 215-220 Euros. Lots of people are pissed over this over here, because they see a Scam when it happens. Apple also has done that quite often in the past, and Apple europe has lost lots of sales over this (and still does not getting it why apple germany almos
    • Do you think Nintendo is going to lose 20% of its potential market from their decision to make the price $50 more than expected? Because that's what it would take for their decision to break even, let alone actually start to hurt them.
      • The break even even would be possible with 200 Euros, it still is way more expensive than japan and us even if you calculate out import tax and VAT across europe. And yes, I think the 250 Euro Pricetag will cost them more than 20% of potential sales over here, especially since the entry XB0x 360 is just 300 Euros and could get a price drop soon. And most people over here see the bundle more like shovelware packing (not too many would buy Wii sports, the most uninteresting title of the lineup) just to have p
    • I dont see the problem with the extra $50 concidering what you get. You get better graphics, built in wifi, a kick ass interface and even a game (which to my knowledge hasnt been done at launch time by any console since the SNES). People seem so hung up on the idea that its a "sports" game without giving thought to the idea that its not a traditional sports video game anyway...its an interactive experience from what I have seen and should make for a good way to learn the different ways to interact with th
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cgenman ( 325138 )
      Why be aggrivated? None of your points seem like particular deal breakers.

      The sports thing isn't a bundle. It doesn't raise their per-item cost any to include a game they've sunk the development costs into. They're just returning (for better or worse) to the old days when standard operating procedure was to throw in something for the player to do with the console. They said they were going to launch "under 250," which almost always means 249.99. Now they're at a 250 launch point, and they threw in a 50
    • by LKM ( 227954 )

      Wii Sports does not cost Nintendo 50 bucks. The controller costs 60 bucks because there's more in it than in the controllers for the Xbox or the PS3 (that's why you get the cheaper controllers to add to the main controller). Do you know anyone who doesn't already have a DVD drive? I agree with the other points, but guess what, Microsoft and Sony are doing the exact same thing with region codes and price markups.

      And one more thing: Lower price does not always mean more sales. Sometimes it also means that pe

  • by Andrew Kismet ( 955764 ) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @11:47AM (#16120341)
    They're always last to hear the news. I trust Perrin Kaplan over David Yarnton.
    They're region loocked: []
    They're not region locked: []
    • Well, apparently some Nintendo US spokesman says it's region locked []. And therefore, if I get a Revolution, I'll be importing it from the US to avoid Nintendo's traditional policy of screwing Europe.
  • by Xest ( 935314 ) * on Saturday September 16, 2006 @11:57AM (#16120386)
    Nintendo US and Nintendo Japan had their events, completely forgetting about Europe with Europe being something console manufacturers apparently don't care that much about with the increased prices and the fact they're always last for console and game releases. Nintendo US and Japan rejoice in the fact that the Wii is in fact probably region free between those countries and mention this publicly. Then someone remembers Europe, Europe no doubt being the centre of shaftdom, a place where companies can screw consumers to the Nth degree without fear of reprisals and brings up the fact that Europe can't in fact use games from Japan or the US because they intend to charge more in Europe to rip customers off and hence they have to correct their mistake that whilst Japan and the US can enjoy game swapping, Europe can't. Okay, now back to reality somewhat I realise that's a totally cynical view and I'm probably off mark but on the same note it is getting kind of tiresome in Europe that we're treated so much worse in terms of releases of games and gaming equipment. The US version of the Wii is going to cost £133, whereas the European version will cost £179. I certainly realise we suffer taxes much more here and I realise with our strong currencies it costs a little more to distribute it here, however I fail to beleive that those two factors add up to a 25% price increase for Europe - some of it HAS to be greed on the manufacturers part, plain and simple. Also, the fact we get it later also adds insult to injury. So whilst my original point had a strong hint of over the top cynicism, I can't help but feel that it might have some slight truth to it that the reason the Wii is region locked - whether for Europe only or all 3 regions that it's again because of sheer greed by Nintendo. I really want a Wii, but when someone's trying to screw me I do feel very tempted to just not bother, not give them my money and buy something else instead. One final note, I do realise Nintendo aren't the only ones guilty of this, I guess I just hoped that Nintendo weren't going to screw Europe like Microsoft did and Sony will... I hoped they were better than that, oh well :/
  • Even without region lockouts, when taking things from US/Japan to Europe/Australia, you still have to deal with PAL vs. NTSC.

    At least that isn't a problem with HDTV, but I don't think the Wii supports HDTV, unlike its contemporaries.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      ntsc conversion never has been a big issue over here in europe.
    • by antime ( 739998 )
      Amazingly PC developers have been able to cope with differing resolutions and frame rates for over ten years. Maybe some day this highly advanced technology will penetrate the thick skull of console developers?
  • by sd_diamond ( 839492 ) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @12:29PM (#16120508) Homepage

    But I hear that its followup, the WWii, is going to take American markets completely by suprise and, for a while at least, completely dominate the Pacific Rim.

  • by KDR_11k ( 778916 ) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @12:50PM (#16120615)
    NoE loves annoying the hell out of their customers and generally try to make us realize we're much better off with a PC. Wouldn't surprise me if NoA made everything region free but NoE added a lock so Europeans can't use those region free games.

    Maybe I should respect their wish and not buy a Wii, then.
  • by TheoMurpse ( 729043 ) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @01:34PM (#16120777) Homepage
    As a person who is bilingual in Japanese and English, I'd planned on buying a Wii and getting games from both sides of the Pacific Ocean (primarily English games, but a few Japanese games that would never be translated and brought to the US). If it is true that the Wii will not be region-free, I don't think I'll be buying one: I make it a point not to buy region-locked things unless I can easily get around them (e.g. DVDs which I play with VLC). I guess I'll wait until someone discovers a hack to get around the region problem.

    Nintendo, you just lost a sale of console and all incidental game purchases I would have made. Congratulations!
  • Not to worry (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BeeBeard ( 999187 )
    I have little doubt that the Wii will be region-unlocked (mod chip, anyone?) and running Linux within the first month of its release.
  • by chris_7d0h ( 216090 ) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @03:22PM (#16121199) Journal
    Has a case against region locking ever reached a court in any country?

    I'd imagine the US or at least the EU should have slammed protectionism attempts like these long ago. DVD movies should have provided ample opportunity for making an example out of this free market prevention tactic. Since I still see region coded movie DVDs being sold, I simply have to conclude that the EU has failed miserably in their vigilance to promote free flow of goods. Since the free flow of goods is one of the cornerstones for existance of the EU, this is pretty serious from a European standpoint. It turns the stated goal into a mockery, where one could add subjective exceptions to the statement like "Free flow of goods some goods" or "Free flow of goods unless you pay to get an exception".

    In my mind, there can be no logical reason other than bribery for why region coding / locking is still permitted in countries at least trying to pay lip service to the notion of a free market. No wonder a lot of people in Europe view the EU as a big scam, there to serve not it's citizen foremost, but some other stake holder.

  • Legality? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by phorm ( 591458 ) on Saturday September 16, 2006 @08:17PM (#16122263) Journal
    I could be wrong, but don't some countries have laws against region-locks (I know some, at least, allow you to buy region-free or deregionalize your device without legal repercussions).

I came, I saw, I deleted all your files.