Activision discusses the business behind region locking decisions

Tuesday, 29th 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.



  1. Bam007

    Well I can contest to it encouraging piracy, because my NDS is capable of playing games from other regions. Same thing applies to my now ‘RRoD’ modded Xbox 360, which I used to download and play a lot of XBLA titles not released here in Australia due to licensing and whatnot.

    How is it that Sony and anyone supporting the PS3 can afford to not track all these numbers that this gentleman speaks of, yet both the 360 and I think the Wii/Wii U too (pretty sure they are locked, it’s just a Nintendo thing) have content locked?

    I don’t know about others, but I have resorted to piracy because of things like this and I am sorry to say, but I will continue to resort to piracy for as long as things are locked to particular regions.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. OwnedWhenStoned

    And the censorship argument doesn’t even work in Germany, as you can get it in Austria with no censorship. Or use a British CC in Steam and download it. Or buy it from

    #2 2 years ago
  3. ps3fanboy

    this is getting old, we all know this is about control and money nothing more. as first poster said, there will just be more piracy, if this continue.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Gheritt White

    Wow, being a CM for Activision must suck pretty badly.

    #4 2 years ago

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