#1 Posted by Doomed (203 posts) -

There are legitimate reasons for corporations to support region-locking. And of course, these reasons hardly line up with consumers' interests. Is there a middle ground? I can think of two ideas that are not perfect, but are still better than the current region-locking system.

1. Console manufacturers allow region-locking from publishers but do not require it. However, any region-locked game can be played on any region's console after x months / years have passed since the game's release.

2. In addition to the above, allow a consumer to pay a deposit (somewhere between $10 and $50) to access the game early on their console. If the game is not released in the user's country within x months / years, the fee is reimbursed to the consumer (maybe even with some kind of free DLC as a consolation). If the game is released, that's given to the local publisher as reimbursement for "stealing" their sale. Even better if the publisher provides a patch or whatever to these customers that optionally converts the game to the local version.

An example implementation of this system:

Sony recommends that there be no region-locking, but leaves it up to publishers. After 18 months have passed, the game can be played on any PS4.*

Plus, users can pay a $30 deposit to access the region-locked game early. After 6 months, they get $10 back in their account. 6 months after that, another $10 is given. Then after 18 months the game is region-free and the consumer has all of their money back.

*This can be enforced in two ways. Require an Internet connection while playing or encode the disc with the date of release. Then bake functionality for date-checking into firmware updates. Firmware 6.01 allows any games encoded with dates of "May 31, 2014" or earlier to be played, even offline.

#2 Posted by Superfriend (1566 posts) -

The corporations in this industry should better start lining up their shit with consumers´ interests.

If it keeps going like it does right now, most of them will be out of business soon.

#3 Posted by Petiew (1353 posts) -

Is importing games even a major problem? I feel like only the biggest, most hardcore fans will go through the trouble of importing games. The only times I've ever imported games are when the service was so terrible or non-existent that if I wanted to play the game any time soon I had no choice but to import. (Happens more often than you'd hope in Europe) I imported Ace Attorney 3 because someone thought it'd be a good idea to delay the release for months and months and then release the 4th game in the series first.
The DS and PS3 were godsends since I could finally play all of the games that never had a chance of reaching UK shores.
 
Companies of course want to protect their profits, which is understandable, but (As an example) how many Japanese consumers would really have waited a week + shipping time to import Persona 4 Arena from the US just to save a thousand yen or two? The loss of profit in that situation seems completely negligible.

#4 Posted by Gaff (1811 posts) -

@Petiew: You would have to account for the audience of a game. So for your example: Fighting games aren't exactly mainstream, whatever region you're in. Add to that Arc System Works games tend to be a little more complicated than your average Street Fighter / Tekken (and therefore less accessible), a pinch of small publisher (Atlus isn't quite a publisher on a scale of Namco Bandai, Square Enix) and you get a situation where every sale counts.

Also that JPY2000 difference between the US version and the JP version? That's about USD$20, or 6 Big Macs, if you believe the Big Mac Index.

@Superfriend: I think the majority, man-in-the-street consumer doesn't care much about importing games, so in a way, they are aligning with consumer interests. Which also explains the glut of First Person Modern Military Shooters.

#5 Posted by Demoskinos (15011 posts) -

Important is hardly the issue it was in the PSone or even PS2 Days.

#6 Posted by TooWalrus (13235 posts) -

If I were living abroad, I'd probably import all of my games from the states. I've got connections to people here (even if I didn't, I'm sure one of you would be willing to ship me games as long as I cover the shipping costs). In some parts of the world, that'd probably still be the cheaper option.

#7 Posted by EVO (3919 posts) -

Is the Vita region free? If so, it seems likely the PS4 will be too.