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I am an import/retro/hardcore gamer. I've been setting the 68000 heart on fire since the late seventies with video game consoles made with wood trim. Of course, now I play consoles that utilize that fancy-schmancy laser technology we love so much.

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6:39 PM on 04.10.2008

Let's talk about regional lockout and how it is no longer relevant.

First, let us briefly touch upon why we have lockout to begin with. Regardless of what any video game publisher or developer will tell you, lockout boils down to one thing and one thing only: control. Let's not fool ourselves into thinking it's anything else.

Game companies want to control what gets sold in what region to maximize revenue, and from a business standpoint it makes sense. Game companies need to make money, and they need to set a way to control what gets released and where. There are other factors involved like copyright and rights issues, but the bottom line is that they need to pick and choose what games get released to make the most amount of money.

Okay, so why is regional lockout no longer relevant?

Simple: it is no longer necessary. Why? Well, for starters, the "normal average" video gamer doesn't know about or care about importing games. If we had region-free consoles, for Joe average gamer it would probably be at most an undocumented feature. Case in point: the Nintendo DS. How many normal, average gamers know that it can play import games without any modification?

Yeah, I thought so.

Next, who imports games? Hardcore masochists like me who is willing to play a game in a foreign language, that's who. Having it region free really only benefits the ones who are willing to purchase the game and play it in a foreign language (possibly), and even if we are conservative, we're talking maybe ten to fifteen percent of the total gaming market? Why put a system in place to stop the ten to fifteen percent?

Oh, and before I go on, if you think game publishers would lose out on a region-free console, keep in mind that most importers go after games that would usually never see the light of day over here (and if importers are buying RPGs or games that publishers intend on bringing over here anyway, here's your Gamepro Gametip: translate the game while it is in development. You publishers have internet access, email, an IM window, and online translation dictionaries, so there is no excuse for not doing this).

So what about counterfeiting and people who purchase illegal copies of games? A region free console will see an increase in that, right?

No, no, no, a million times no.

Games have security measures in place to prevent that, region free systems are still gonna check to make sure your dealing with legit software, so this is a moot point.

In the end regional lockout doesn't seem to do much of anything. Sure it keeps us from playing Dating Sims or Mah-Jongg games, but if someone is willing to import it and play it in Japanese, more power to them, I'm just saying to give us the option to do so.

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