Nintendo is planning to remove region locking on the next generation console set for release in 2016 (opens in new tab), according to the company’s president Satoru Iwata.
The Wii U is the only current-gen console featuring region locking, with the Xbox One and PS4 both free of these location requirements. Microsoft originally had region locking on the Xbox One, but reverted that decision before the console launched.
Iwata claims Nintendo cannot change region locking on the Wii U due to “various issues”, although he did not go into detail on the issues. We suspect Nintendo may have integrated some of the region locking into the hardware, meaning a full recall would be needed to enact change.
Nintendo might also be split when it comes to region locking, although Iwata has spoken on the subject before and claimed it would be good for the gamers. It is not the first time Nintendo’s Japanese division has made an obnoxious decision that seems to divide gamers, look at the YouTube partnership program for more proof of the company’s out of touch attitude (opens in new tab) to new media.
Hopefully, the NX console will be the first to move away from Nintendo’s region locking, although the company is currently working on new types of region locking for the 3DS and other handheld consoles.
Nintendo recently announced a partnership with free-to-play mobile developer DeNA (opens in new tab), to bring the first games using Nintendo’s first party IP to mobile devices. It plans to launch the first games later this year, but its flagship games The Legend of Zelda have been pushed back till 2016.