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Xbox One will be region-locked, Microsoft confirms

Monday, 27th May 2013 02:32 GMT By Brenna Hillier

In news that ought to surprise absolutely nobody, Microsoft has confirmed that the Xbox One will be region-locked, meaning you can’t buy games internationally and expect them to work on a console purchased in your home territory.

Speaking with Digital Trends, a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed that Xbox One will continue the tradition of region locking laid down by the Xbox and Xbox 360.

“Similar to the movie and music industry, games must meet country-specific regulatory guidelines before they are cleared for sale,” the representative said.

“We will continue to work with our partners to follow these guidelines with Xbox One.”

Microsoft isn’t alone in this policy; all Nintendo consoles to date have also been region-locked. The PSOne and PS2 were region-locked, but the PS3 and Vita are not, although individual developers and publishers may choose to enforce a region lock if they wish; very few have taken advantage.

Sony has so far demurred on the question of whether the PlayStation 4 will follow suit, with SCE Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida saying only that he has an answer, but is not ready to give it yet – which could mean anything.

Thanks, GameInformer.

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46 Comments

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  1. RoyBrown

    That’s a huge negative for me.

    In Australia you can buy imported games for half the price of Australian retail.

    If PS4 is region free just for games, that’s the console I’m buying as it will save me a ton of money in the long run.

    #1 11 months ago
  2. Night Hunter

    Doesn’t Australia have the same region code as NZ?

    #2 11 months ago
  3. actuallyisnotafox

    another reason xbox one is becoming my lest favorite next gen console :/

    #3 11 months ago
  4. salarta

    I can actually understand why companies would region lock consoles. If a company releases a product in a certain market, it entails certain costs; someone importing the same item from overseas would basically defeat the purpose.

    However, I think not having a region lock is ultimately much better. There are a lot of games and movies that will get released in one region but not another. Region locking for these items would prevent interested consumers from actually being able to experience the game or film unless they got a system from that region and adapters to make it all work.

    When Nintendo of America at first refused to bring the Project Rainfall games stateside, but Europe was getting them, the region lock was an obstacle to me being able to play the games I actually wanted to play. It made a system that increasingly came off as a worthless purchase, even more worthless. I was ready to break the region lock even if it risked bricking my Wii since I saw no point in keeping a functioning Wii anymore at the time if the process failed.

    Now, I currently wouldn’t hold it against Sony if the PS4 had region locking, though I’d certainly be disappointed. But I WOULD hold it against Microsoft with the XBox One, since the XBox One already has enough bullshit both proven and rumored without this adding to it.

    #4 11 months ago
  5. redwood

    I don’t know… ps3 was not region locked, so i don’t want any more region locking :\ and now am thinking sony will follow ms’s footsteps in this too

    #5 11 months ago
  6. Puggy

    Hm, I always liked to buy games when I want to buy them, and not years later when they final get released in europe, if they get at all.

    And I guess you can not even… circumvent or jailbreak that thing due to the online requirement. Bugger.

    #6 11 months ago
  7. mkotechno

    Another nail in the XBO coffin.

    #7 11 months ago
  8. CaptPierce

    Just keep on digging Microsoft.

    #8 11 months ago
  9. MFBB

    Oh thats the biggest no go for me so far from Microsoft.

    Since I dont buy any games here in Germany due to the high price.
    I always import from the UK, 15-29€ instead of 50-70€.

    Hope Sony stays on its current no region lock, or at least whole Europe is the same region and i can snitch some UK games :)

    #9 11 months ago
  10. salarta

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Sony reveals the PSN for the PS4 requiring a subscription in the same model as Microsoft. The people that willingly paid into XBox Live basically told the world that charging people a fee to be able to do basic online features is acceptable on consoles.

    #10 11 months ago
  11. Mjorh

    MS is screwing everything up !

    #11 11 months ago
  12. Clupula

    @10 – I would. I’d be hugely surprised, considering that even more millions of people chose the system with free online play.

    Do I think they’ll charge for a lot of the cloud service? Of course, they will. But just basic online multiplayer, I believe will remain free.

    #12 11 months ago
  13. Kieran

    PS4 looks better everyday that passes until E3

    #13 11 months ago
  14. polygem

    @10: i actually hope for a subscription model but i want one where i will get some content from, like renting games and stuff like that, kind of an improved ps+.
    i do not have a problem with a fee for great services. i play a lot of games, if a sub will make sense to me and improve my gaming time and/or save me some money in the long run, if i think it´s worth paying for it i am more than ready for it. i actually wasn´t bothered with xbl for years, sure, the basic online could have / should have been free but i played online a lot, used a lot of the gold features and really preferred it over psn. the moment they´ve putted ads on that service it instantly did not make any sense to me anymore.
    i really hope sony will introduce an optional sub model and i hope it will be a great deal for people who love to play games.

    #14 11 months ago
  15. Clupula

    @14 – Well, then you and I are different. If Sony charge a fee to online, I won’t ever go online again. And neither will A LOT of Playstation owners.

    There’s no reason to pay a fee. Period. Point blank.

    And if you think I’m alone in that view, look at DC Universe Online for PS3. A flop when it had a subscription fee. When it went free to play, the amount of people playing it went up 400%. The average PS3 owner will not pay to go online. I will not. And neither will many others.

    The only thing I would possibly pay a little extra a month for would be backwards compatibility. Otherwise, nope. Will not do it. And Sony would be killing a huge portion of their business by doing it. Only fools pay to go online.

    #15 11 months ago
  16. dex3108

    I don’t see point of region locking today. If i am willing to wait 5-15 days to get my game from around the world that is annoying enough. Also it is better for publishers if they sell more games, and if they lock games to specific region their number of sold games can be lower. I really hope that Sony is watching all this and it will make right decisions.

    #16 11 months ago
  17. Sylrissa

    @15 I agree, and for me if Sony keeps online free, and keeps the ps4 not region-locked, I’ll be picking one up day one this time.

    I didn’t get my ps3 until several years later, and I got when it came with buying a new TV

    #17 11 months ago
  18. Bomba Luigi

    Thats just normal, and really just sad for a small part of Customers like me. But all in all its just a minor thing.

    #18 11 months ago
  19. orakaa

    Region locking is a HUGE concern for me. I only modded my PS1 and PS2 in order to play imported games, mostly from US and Japan.
    At least a third of my games on PS3 come from Japan, and the ratio is even bigger on my Nintendo DS.

    I only import games that are not (and will never be) released in Europe. Taiko no tatsujin? Ouendan (the original with Japanese songs)? Gundam, Macross or other aninme-related games? You will never see them here. Why preventing more copies to be sold?
    I was ready to buy a 3DS but the region locking is what put me off (and to this day I haven’t bought one).

    No region lock on PS3 was a REALLY good thing, at least to me, and I hope Sony will keep the same functionality for PS4.

    #19 11 months ago
  20. pleasant_cabbage

    fffttt. More faux outrage over another feature 99% of the user base don’t give a rats ass about…

    #20 11 months ago
  21. Myth

    The VG247-angle seems inaccurate here, the region-locking on Xbox 360 is currently up to the publisher, isn’t it?

    #21 11 months ago
  22. DrDamn

    @21
    Maybe it is a small percentage, but the people commenting here are those who *do* use it. Very few are saying it’s a big issue for the system, most are saying it’s a big issue for them. Nothing false about it. It’s also very important in some countries.

    I think the digital direction is hopefully making Western this less of an issue. A way for publishers to get games out in other regions without big risks is good and has been used on PSN (PS3 and Vita).

    One thing Sony need to do is get better global releases sorted. Titles releasing in the US first then weeks or months down the line in Europe because of SCEE submission issues needs to be sorted.

    #22 11 months ago
  23. ps3fanboy

    region lock = another nail in the coffin…. the xbone is done!

    #23 11 months ago
  24. Lengendaryboss

    Has there ever been a worse PR disaster following a console reveal like this? Anyway this doesn’t bother me too much i always buy games locally although the Xbone in general well the only good thing i can think is this putting me in a good mood: Someone has even done a Hitler impressions video of it all, couldn’t stop laughing :D

    #24 11 months ago
  25. polygem

    @15: i wasn´t talking about a fee for online. not at all. i was talking about a sub/fee that gives me something back, like game rentals and stuff like that: content. i agree that the basic online should be kept free.

    #25 11 months ago
  26. monkeygourmet

    Sony may HAVE to launch a paid for online service.

    They can’t afford to miss out on some of the features MS are going to be raking it in for, even if they suck…

    The second hand game thing & paid for online may just have to happen to prop up the huge online requirement we will see next gen.

    #26 11 months ago
  27. Christopher Jack

    Is there anything positive about this console?

    #27 11 months ago
  28. Lengendaryboss

    @28
    Does getting your laughing worth count? :D
    Well if you look into i suppose it will provide supreme entertainment options rather gaming, hold that can be seen as a negative.
    Nothing i suppose.

    #28 11 months ago
  29. Christopher Jack

    @29, The reveal was a laugh, since then the joke has been dry & it’s only becoming sadder.

    #29 11 months ago
  30. pleasant_cabbage

    @23
    no doubt, it’s more comments like #24 I was aiming at :)

    #30 11 months ago
  31. polygem

    @28: yes, the controller and i kind of like that xboxgreen that the packaging will hopefully have…not sure if that´s enough though.

    #31 11 months ago
  32. ps3fanboy

    @27 monkeygourmet, have you been living under a rock for years???.. Sony HAVE a paid for online service, its called PLAYSTATION PLUS!… and it is doing perfectly fine.

    #32 11 months ago
  33. The_Red

    Region lock is a HUGE issue for people like me who live in unsupported Asian countries. Seriously, we could want a certain game but there are ONLY imports here and most of them come from Europe. Now if someone has console with a region region, they can either:

    - Forget about that game.
    - Pirate the game.

    No third option here.

    #33 11 months ago
  34. SplatteredHouse

    I play games. I like to play them. So, when a game releases in a country not my own. I value the opportunity to be able to make my own mind up about the worth of that game, by being able to get and play it if I like. I accept that I’d be acting on my own volition, that local support would not be able (nor would I ask them) to assist me with any issue I may encounter playing that game.

    But, I have long had my fill of “when’s that game coming out here?” “No plans, or just … Who’s publishing: no idea.” In which case, I lose, because I don’t get to play the game I chose – and the publisher/devs lose, because I’m not able to pay them for the game they made. How’s that any good.

    Another thing: Wait until the game is available in your region? You mean: Long after the initial announce, which generated the largest notice. Sometimes, a time after the “second wind” once it’s available in English, and then it’s greeted with a whimper comparatively, when it arrives as a footnote on a release schedule vying amongst so much else, making its first release – and then, you can get questions about why it isn’t chart-topping, maybe the sales just don’t happen, and that then harms the likelihood of the publisher making more effort to make a broader variety of software available – and I’m better off not supporting a machine, by not buying one, that is not interested in helping me to play games I like.

    #34 11 months ago
  35. Sturmhardt

    So PS4 it is! (if they don’t try to bend us over like MS, let’s see…)

    #35 11 months ago
  36. sh4dow

    Well I’m sure we all know what the answer is… hack the damn thing!
    If companies don’t implement reasonable policies, consumers have to take matters into their own hands.

    #36 11 months ago
  37. TheKeyPit

    “Xbox One will continue the tradition of region locking laid down by the Xbox and Xbox 360.”

    So, where is the problem? Will it change from what we actually have with the 360 right now?

    #37 11 months ago
  38. reask

    @39
    I was thinking the same myself I mean isnt the whole of Europe pal? so it wouldn’t matter where you bought it.

    #38 11 months ago
  39. loki

    With consoles games price in Russia, all i can say: fuck you MS and your Xbox one

    #39 11 months ago
  40. et_phone_home

    Another “arrow in the knee” for MS.

    I hope that MS suffocate on their greed. I’m going to buy a PS4 for sure.

    With the quality problems on some titles on the PS3, i was thinking about to move to the future XBOX, but after all i read about this new piece of crap and the promissing PS4, the choice left is only one…

    #40 11 months ago
  41. ps3fanboy

    @43 i’m sure you love your job dick wad.. sitting home on your ass in front of your computer all day and spamming internet forums. it must be reeeeeally satisfying… TAKE YOUR $82 HOUR JOB AND GEY IMAC AND STUFF THEM UP YOUR ASS, NOW FUCK OFF!!!!!1

    #41 11 months ago
  42. Da Man

    No region lock profit = 100 demented nerds importing weirdo JP videogames.

    Region lock profit = healthy software sales everywhere.

    #42 11 months ago
  43. salarta

    @42: No region lock profit = EVERY person that wants to play video games or watch films or TV shows from more than one region.

    Contrary to what you may think, this is actually useful for more than “demented nerds importing weirdo JP video games.” There are high quality films released in other countries that do not get released in the United States, and to be able to watch them would require either a player for the region or a willingness to change a hard drive to suit that region.

    Of course, you already made up your mind that the only people that could ever possibly have any form of utility for a lack of region lock have to be creepy perverted otaku types. Because of course academia does not exist.

    #43 11 months ago
  44. Richenbaum

    academias are my favorite nut! (no I’m not serious…)

    #44 11 months ago
  45. salarta

    Yeah Caroline, stop pretending to be a giant robot eagerly killing test subjects with nerve gas and start earning some damn money for a Land Rover Defender. Imagine what tests you can do with that thing.

    #45 11 months ago
  46. misterapathy

    I’ll paint you a real world scenario where this actually does get in the way… Europe.

    I moved from Australia to Germany, suddenly I cant purchase a lot of content from the Australian marketplace… so I do the right thing and migrate regions. Only to discover that German versions frequently do not have ANY other languages with them. You might argue that if I move to a country I should know the language, fair enough, but even if my German WAS that good… I would much prefer the English language versions anyway since the German voice actors are horrible.

    If I moved to the UK, same process, and in an I.T contracting job this is much more likely than you’d think. People country hop here regularly.

    Next you have countries like Belgium, where they speak French/German/Dutch… and their games are basically all the German versions.

    The only way region coding will ever work nicely for its intended purpose is to ensure that all regions have at least ACCESS to alternate languages and audio tracks.

    And sure, I can currently just import games from the UK, but I actually prefer to just download things from the store on occasion, and with the upcoming licensing model it certainly seems that’s the direction Microsoft would prefer we take anyway.

    #46 10 months ago