Companies need to make sure content is suited for each market
Video game publisher Activision is aware of the opposition that gamers express towards region locking and has tasked community manager Dam Amrich with explaining why the measure is needed given the worldwide reach of the company.The Activision representative says that the main reason for region locking is that two different publishers can have rights for one game in two territories and they need to clearly draw boundaries between their jurisdictions.
Amrich states in an official video that, “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. Region locking sort of helps police who has the rights to make what money in what territory.”
Another big concern for companies is to make sure that they do not break laws in the countries where their titles are sold.
Amrich adds, “Is the content that you’re releasing in Country A acceptable in Country B?. Germany is notoriously hard-nosed on things like violent content in video games.”
Region locking also allows for better tracking of sales across various regions of the world.
The points the Activision community manager makes are valid, but they are not universal.
There are video games that have just one worldwide distributor and are rated the same in different territories, but still launch with a region lock because the publisher wants to make sure that there are no imports from, say, Japan into the United States.
Rumors suggest that the next generation of home consoles from Sony and Microsoft will both feature extensive digital distribution systems.
As long as publishers like Activision use them to launch their titles on the same date when they arrive in brick and mortar stores, region locking might become a thing of the past.