Xbox 360 Games On Demand Region Locked

The Xbox 360 summer system earlier this week made it possible for users to buy and download titles directly to their console. But don't go looking to digitally import games.

The US Xbox LIVE Marketplace and the Japanese Xbox LIVE Marketplace have different titles.

For work, I have an American Xbox 360 with a US Xbox LIVE Gold account. I use it to download games and write reviews of them. When Games On Demand was rolled out, I wanted to check out the instant gratification service and tried downloading Assassin's Creed and got this message:

This item isn't available from your current location.

I tried downloading Call of Duty 2 and got the same message. I tried downloading LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga and got the same message. Thought this might be third party region coding, but got ditto for Perfect Dark Zero and even Viva Piñata, which is available on the Japanese Marketplace.

However, it was possible to download Xbox title Fable.

The reverse seems to be true as well — meaning, those living outside Japan do not appear able to digitally import Japanese Xbox 360 games on demand.

Region locking: Good for corporations, and for now, bad for Microsoft. These titles are available used at lower prices.

Update: According to Microsoft, "Yes, the portfolio of titles offered through Games on Demand will vary by region, based on regional title availability."


    Region locking is a complex area. It's all very well for gamers to say "bad", but individual games companies have different licensing/distribution with different regions/countries.

    Regional differences are a fact of life. We'd all like our movies and games to be available anywhere at the same time, but there are real people with real money behind these products, and they have to pay for marketing timing and localization in order to make money on the things they create.

      It’s all very well for gamers to say “bad”, but individual games companies have different licensing/distribution with different regions/countries.

      There's no reason why these region-specific licensing/distribution agreements can't be phased out over time in favour of global deals, particularly for english speaking markets where regionalisation is not as important, difficult or even necessary.

    IIRC the Games on Demand downloading service doesn't go live until sometime during Thursday. It isn't very far into Thursday in the US yet. Thought Ashcraft would know this, since it was noted in earlier patch notes posted on Kotaku.

      Alex, it's live now. Games On Demand has been accessible since Tuesday evening.

    And they continue to keep The [email protected] region locked, even though they don't sell it outside of Japan. Can someone send bandai namco a memo reminding them they need to actually have games available for sale before they can make money off them?

    And the Australian version sucks.

    Not suprised Microsoft is gonna screw us over again with this region crap. This is one thing Sony does right.

    Games on Demand is all over-priced anyway. I'm hoping the Australian public is smart enough to buy preowned at a local game store rather than fund Microsoft when all they want to do is take our money.

      exactly... microsoft obviously doesn't want people using their service at this rate.

    MS heading down the steam region locking patch is not a good thing ...bad customer experience isn't going to help them...

    This makes people that live on an army base in another country like me hate microsoft even more than I already do. Not for sale in my region. Thanks again microsoft for proving how useless you are. Why I even considered purchasing content through your xbox system, is beyond me. Why I even purchased an xbox is beyond me. You know I never paid a cent for any of my digital media until I came into the military. This is really cramping my pirate style.

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