Activision discusses the business behind region locking decisions

Tuesday, 29 January 2013 09:48 GMT By Nick Akerman

Activision community manager Dan Amrich recently discussed the decisions behind region locking. This process, which might stop games working outside of the territory they are bought in, often frustrates those looking to import.

This delicate subject ought to have some sense behind it, right? Amrich explained the primary reason for region locking is to do with different publishers owning the rights to a game in different territories. He uses the example of Speed Racer, which was published in Japan. In America, a different company owns the rights.

“You can’t infringe on that Japanese company’s rights or that American company’s rights by releasing the game in the opposite territory if you don’t have the legal right to do it,” Amrich said. “Region locking sort of helps police who has the rights to make what money in what territory.”

Region locking also allows publishers to easily track how many units have sold, as well as making changes to graphic content in countries that are policed more rigorously.

“Is the content that you’re releasing in Country A acceptable in Country B?” Amrich said. “Germany is notoriously hard-nosed on things like violent content in video games.”

Check out the full video right here:

Thanks, Polygon.