Nintendo has reaffirmed its hate of importing by once again region-locking one of its systems. Instead of admitting to itself and the world that people travel, sometimes speak more than one language or are just willing to pay more for a game they normally couldn’t get, it is walling off its consoles. This means anyone who thinks they want a Wii U should perhaps wait a bit and buy one from the region that will have the most games they want, as the Wii U will be a region-locked device.
A region-locked device is exactly what it sounds like. It means if someone buys a Wii U in the United States, they’ll only be able to play Wii U games made in the U.S. on it. They wouldn’t be able to import a game from Japan or Europe and play it on their system.
While other countries, like Sony, have moved forward and made their handhelds and consoles region-free so they can play games from any region, Nintendo’s taken a step back in recent years. Nintendo’s consoles have always been region-locked, but its handhelds had been region-free up until the DSi and 3DS. Even Microsoft isn’t as bad, as a handful of import Xbox 360 games are able to be played on a domestic Xbox 360.
This news wouldn’t be so bad if Nintendo’s consoles were more like Microsoft’s. Most major Xbox and Xbox 360 games were released worldwide. Nintendo’s track record isn’t so good, as there are a number of great first and third party games for the SNES, N64, GameCube and Wii that were only released in certain regions and held back in others. I guess this just means Wii U owners who enjoy imports will either have to wait for a peripheral company to create an unlock disc/program or perhaps mod their consoles. Of course, modding the Wii U would mean voiding your warranty, so don’t do something like that lightly!