Today Nintendo confirmed that the Wii U will be region locked. The news really isn’t surprising given that every Nintendo console since the NES has employed region locks of some sort, but it’s still disappointing news to hear for the legions of import gamers out there.
While I sort of understand why companies region lock consoles from a business standpoint, I still feel like region locks are an ultimately unnecessary hassle for gamers. Sony and Microsoft both have optional region locks that publishers can chose to use or not, and I wish Nintendo would adopt a similar policy. If anything else, it would avoid all situations like the highly publicized Operation Rainfall campaign, where long suffering Wii owners in the US actually had to petition to Nintendo to release the last batch of worthwhile Wii games in America. It was ultimately worth it — Xenoblade and The Last Story were both great games — but we never got the final game in the campaign, Pandora’s Tower. Being able to easily import games would help remedy situations like this, and it would certainly make it easier to deal with Nintendo of America’s often bizarre decisions on what games they chose to localize or not.
Still, despite the limitation, Wii U’s are already pre-sold out at most stores and it’s already starting to seem like the Wii U will be the must-have item of the holiday season, so Nintendo might just be too busy counting their money to worry about importers.