Friday, May 31, 2013
Xbox One Region Locked?
In a statement to Digital Trends, a Microsoft rep confirmed that the Xbox One would be region locked in some capacity: “Similar to the movie and music industry, games must meet country-specific regulatory guidelines before they are cleared for sale.” What this means isnt entirely clear and Microsoft has declined to elaborate. Im pretty sure they wouldnt do something so stupid as to region lock all of Xbox Live, but it seems that all games will be region locked in some capacity.
Whether that means just NTFS vs PAL like we have now, or something much more sinister is yet to be determined. If Microsoft were to decree that all games for the Xbox One cannot support cross region play, that would be the tipping point that would cause me to absolutely not buy the console. What they should do is mandate that while all games are sold as region specific, cross region play must be supported. As it stands now, this decision is usually left to the developer, but this often leads to the huge mistake of a region locked game you cannot play across the pond.
Furthermore, especially for older games, having the ability to play with people from around the world is essential. Sure, when Virtua Tennis 3 was brand spanking new, it could have been supported by a community of just American players. But now, some 6 years after it was released, it simply would not still have an online community at all were it not for inter-region play. There is a certain threshold of minimum number of players for online games, and once it falls below that, a tipping point is reached and the remaining player base just gives up on ever trying to find a match and all online play evaporates.
Finally, its pretty cool that Bond and I get to play VT3 doubles against teams not just in the USA, but the entire world. Playing with gamers from Japan, Korea, France, Spain, and the UK makes online play for VT3 so much more rewarding, because it makes the overall quality of play so much higher - even if the connection quality isnt always quite as great as we would like it to be. "Let, first service" is commonly heard when the game lags. But the players deal with it, give back a point if necessary, and play on.
So please Microsoft, let us gamers deal with the bits of lag, and play on if we want to. It should be our right as gamers to determine if a match is too laggy to play - not the right of a developer, publisher, or console manufacturer.