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Post by Dan @ 09:36am 28/05/13 | 16 Comments
It's hardly a surprisingly development, particularly in light of the freshly unveiled console's other pioneering DRM plans, but Microsoft has now reportedly confirmed that the Xbox One will feature region locking functionality.

Digital Trends reports confirmation from a company spokesperson (thanks Polygon):
“Similar to the movie and music industry, games must meet country-specific regulatory guidelines before they are cleared for sale,” A rep from Microsoft confirmed to Digital Trends. “We will continue to work with our partners to follow these guidelines with Xbox One.”
When probed for further comment by Polygon, Microsoft left specifics of the region locking implementation unclarified, stating that they "don't have anything further to announce at this stage" and "We'll have more to share later".

With the Xbox 360, Microsoft left the region-lock decision for games up to games publishers, with three regions: NTSC in north America, NTSC-J in Japan and, and PAL for Europe (which has traditionally also included Australia and New Zealand), and that's probably the most likely scenario again with the Xbox One.

Despite the comments above from Microsoft, the need to "meet country-specific regulatory guidelines" has not been the case for region-locked console hardware, as obviously, European countries like Germany, and the UK have different ratings systems than Australia, yet we can play games purchased from there just fine. Rather, it has instead been used as a mechanism for publishers to protect higher price points in markets where consumers are accustomed to paying higher prices for games -- for example: by preventing European/Australian customers from importing titles from the consistently cheaper North American market.

Even though the old PAL/NTSC differences are now a thing of the past in modern displays, there are some lingering justifications for the disparity, as games distributed in traditional PAL regions generally require more language localisations, but for a platform holder to lay the blame on regulatory guidelines is disingenuous.

The Nintendo 3DS, Wii, and Wii U all feature region-locked games, while the PlayStation 3 games are all region free (with Sony's console only implementing three regions for Blu-Ray movie discs), and Sony's region-locking plans for the PlayStation 4 are unknown.

As for digital download services, aside from a few exceptions on PC, they're almost all geo-locked per country now, and there's no reason to suspect that the Xbox One will be any different in that regard.



xbox onedrmmicrosoftxbox





Latest Comments
Tollaz0r!
Posted 09:58am 28/5/13
Another negative for the Xbox One, when will it stop?

groganus
Posted 10:09am 28/5/13
I thought they said at there reveal event that it was still set by the publishers, the ability to do it is there, but ultimately the use of it is at the publishers discretion.
Inept
Posted 10:41am 28/5/13
Little do we know, EA are the puppeteers of all the things.
Khel
Posted 10:45am 28/5/13
Another negative for the Xbox One, when will it stop?


When the console is released and everyone buys it anyway
carson
Posted 11:38am 28/5/13
When the console is released and everyone buys it anyway

Just like every COD
glynd
Posted 12:17pm 28/5/13
Little do we know, EA are the puppeteers of all the things.


Most likely the reason. I imported my xbox 360 from USA so I can play NCAA Football but it seems to be mainly just EA titles that are region locked. That and the Witcher 2 were the only problems I can remember.

EA is a b**** as well. I have an American Xbox to play NCAA Football but I can't use my Australian account to play online because their "online pass" is USA only. Not annoyed about not being able to play against anyone but couldn't do an online season with my brother. I've got an American account purely for NCAA now but still damn annoying.
IVY_MiKe
Posted 01:04pm 28/5/13
Glynd is onto why its balls.

Region locking games only serves to allow the publishing houses to fix prices as they wish (which I suppose is 'their right' to do, but it's such a global market for this kinda stuff now, why bother treating this all like it's 1995?)
trog
Posted 01:11pm 28/5/13
haha @ "Similar to the movie and music industry, games must meet country-specific regulatory guidelines before they are cleared for sale". What a crock of s***.
eski
Posted 01:37pm 28/5/13
It seems like the Xbox division's biggest fear is their own customers.
Raven
Posted 02:36pm 28/5/13
I haven't actually bothered to read much about the Xbox One, and most of what I've seen has been people bashing it. What little I have read, however, certainly hasn't done anything to make me interested enough to read more, or certainly not such that I might want one.
Region locking is just another nail in that coffin. What exactly is it that gaming companies believe these features provide which the consumer benefits from?
trog
Posted 03:21pm 28/5/13
What exactly is it that gaming companies believe these features provide which the consumer benefits from?
This isn't a feature for users, it's a feature for developers and publishers. That is important to them as well.
glynd
Posted 03:38pm 28/5/13
Glynd is onto why its balls.


It gets better.

I can't use the online pass or download DLC with my Australian account.
I can't add a payment method on my American account (can't use Australia credit card)

So at best I can download the free updates. I want to give them money but I can't. That's not just Microsoft though. Sony's online passes were pretty annoying as well. I couldn't buy Australian games with my American PSN account on Vita due to the passes.
BladeRunner
Posted 05:22pm 28/5/13
All the more reason to support crackers/hackers of the new consoles when they come out.
carson
Posted 06:05pm 28/5/13
This sort of s***, region locking, is a huge reason why I don't bother with consoles. F*** paying like 100 bux for a new game (or 80 or however much it is). Rather dump a larger wad of cash on my Pc and at least have multiple avenues to use for getting my games at the best price possible.

B****** be cray.
DM
Posted 08:40pm 28/5/13
I would like to think that the PS4 will be region free with the exception of perhaps movies (which I'm ok with) since one of the best features of the PS3 was being able to play anything, from anywhere. Surely they wouldn't take such a large step back in regards to that since even the Vita is region free. Microsoft still don't really get it it seems.
kos
Posted 08:53pm 28/5/13
The PS3 wasn't technically region free, it's just that almost no games have included region locking for most of its life thus far.

Apparently the first region-locked PS3 game was released around July 2012, not a bad run of almost 6 years of no region-locked games.

http://kotaku.com/5923821/meet-the-first-ever-region+locked-ps3-game
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