Although the two other major players in the gaming market, Microsoft and Sony, have given up the idea of regional restrictions on their consoles, Nintendo is determined to maintain the policy in place.

Nintendo region locking has been defended by the Japanese gaming giant’s officials despite fans outcry, online campaigns and a petition aimed at reversing the policy.

Angry fans have started campaigns on Facebook and Twitter, an online petition and have even voiced their criticism on Nintendo’s very own outlet Miiverse, calling on the company to follow in Sony’s and Microsoft’s footsteps and give up region restrictions entirely.

Nintendo Region Locking Policy Under Fire

Sony never had its consoles region locked and Microsoft initially considered the idea for its upcoming Xbox One, but recently gave up on the policy, along with other controversial restrictions.

Nintendo fans say that the policy infringes on their consumer rights to choose what games to play and is restrictive to those who for instance enjoy playing foreign games in foreign languages or who travel abroad. They ask all region restrictions be lifted from Nintendo’s Wii U, Wii systems and 3DS.

The petition also insists that region-free policies would actually be beneficial for Nintendo, as they would encourage legitimate sales of games rather than illegal downloads in the countries where they are not available. With the policy in effect, games sold in Japan will not work on consoles sold in the U.S. and vice versa.

Region locking ‘the result of cultural issues’

Despite fan criticism, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata defended the policy and the company’s decision to keep it. Nintendo region locking has to do with legal and cultural issues, not only with the company’s “business ego,” Iwata told IGN recently.

Iwata explained that the decision is actually out of Nintendo’s hand because the company needs to comply with local content rules in the many different countries where it sells its products, given that every region has its own restrictions, age ratings and cultural customs.

Nintendo America also confirmed the decision to keep region locking, recently saying that the measure will allow the company to ensure compliance with regional rating systems and standards and to include more effective parental control.

What do you think of Nintendo region locking? Could the gaming giant give in to fans’ pressure and reverse its policies?

[Image via nintendolife]