Xbox One Will Be Region Locked

In the Brave New World of televisions you talk to and devices that watch you while you sleep, we somehow still have a need for region locking. A Microsoft rep confirmed to Digital Trends that, yes, the Xbox One will be region locked and, yes, that region locking will look similar to the method used on the Xbox 360.

“Similar to the movie and music industry, games must meet country-specific regulatory guidelines before they are cleared for sale,” said the Microsoft representative. “We will continue to work with our partners to follow these guidelines with Xbox One.”

Much like Blu-rays, region locking is limited to the publishers and distributors who demand them. But still, it's a little disappointing that such an archaic system and way of thinking is being perpetuated by new technology.

Microsoft answers the question of Xbox One region locks [Digital Trends]


    not buying one

    As every game will be offered digitally I'm just going to find a way around this and buy from the US online store.

      Except they would still be region locked so it wont work.

    the "One" console that keeps on giving,
    Bad News.
    M$ is attacking all the major console perks. THey are forcing all these "features" this generation and will be hell bent on promoting them through the console lifetime. I doubt the message will change at E3, I hope they bring that fake applause audience into E3 to sit behind everyone.

    Last edited 28/05/13 9:36 am

      I predict their E3 showing will be met with some very frosty, steely-eyed stares from lip-pursing journalists not in the mood to soak up more bullshit.

      Mark posted an article contemplating Microsoft's take on the reaction. 40% good, 40% indifferent, 20% negative. But seriously, as more news comes out... Just do a google search for 'xbox one'. Just on its own, no values judgements, just the name. Check how many articles and links on page one are negative. Especially the first couple links.

      If 20% of your google search results are negative, that's not really a good thing if they're at the top of the search results and people have to go through another 5-10 pages before they get to the positive feedback. Quality, not quantity Microsoft.

        They can go with the "we don't care because we make more money, and the blind following will make us last" approach.
        Which can be very convincing to today's mass media [we are already seeing Gamestop shares fall, not that I care about Gamestop], because everyone wants to bet on the winning horse.

        Last edited 28/05/13 12:48 pm

    To be expected, I guess. Aren't they all done this way these days? They should consider blocking certain other technologies as well while they're at it - why not make the system fail to load when a PS4 is connected to the TV? Brilliant.

    “Similar to the movie and music industry, games must meet country-specific regulatory guidelines before they are cleared for sale,” said the Microsoft representative. “We will continue to work with our partners to follow these guidelines with Xbox One.

    As I said yesterday, this is a crock of shit. If there were any truth to it then UK 360 games wouldn't have worked in Australia since they have a different classification system to us, and some games that were banned here weren't banned there. It is nothing to do with regulatory guidelines and everything to do with being able to charge some people more than others for the same product.

      You are right. The gamers market is particularly vulnerable at these console launches. We have to be careful.

      Of course it is but that isn't a convenient excuse

      The more that these consoles come out with the detail, the more likely I am going to go out and buy a GeForce Titan, just does not seem to be worth the hassle. With stuff like this, they are going to alienate a whole raft of gamers. If i was still working at game, I could just imagine the uphill battle it would be to secure per-orders with this crap coming out almost daily, something that is a massive push from the Shop staff's management. I feel for you Shop staff, it must be tough.

      Close, it's got to do with maximizing revenue across the year.

      If they can stretch out the release of something in different territories across, say, 6 months, they'll see steady returns on that product for a longer time.

      In this day and age though, region locking is redundant.

        But we generally get games within a few days of the US release, not 6 months later. So why not make us part of their region? Because that region's games are half the price of ours, so they're going to do all they can to keep squeezing that extra revenue out of us.

      Don't give them ideas. With them essentially going digital they could actually restrict us to AU games at crazy AU prices...

        I thought that was the entire point of this Xbone exercise.

      Ummmm yeah it will be "region locked" like the xbox360 but it's up to the publisher whether the game is locked... I think only EA had locked games most of the time

      My injustice, Halo and Skyrim as well as several other games are from the US (NTSC) and work perfectly fine on all my Pal consoles same goes obviously for all my UK imports

        Sorry buddy, but you're wrong. Making games on discs has nothing to do with NTSC (or PAL). Those are merely standards of video (TV) signals. It's merely about globalisation and localisation in in economic markets and how prices would, should or at least could be the same of different around the world.

        I don't think Microsoft (and many of the publishers) like it that I can buy a physical copy of Max Payne 3 twice as cheap overseas (and have it shipped here) then I were to buy it digitally.*

        *Oz Gameshop and Steam (Au) were used as references.

      It is so much bullshit. PS3 isn't region-locked, and has what... ONE region-locked game? Why haven't THEY fallen afoul of all this supposedly important and difficult regional classification? They haven't. Because it's a bullshit lie fed to us as an excuse for overcharging.

        As MS said themselves in the above quote, "games must meet country-specific regulatory guidelines before they are cleared for sale". If you buy a game from the US, it's being sold in the US where it has been cleared for sale. There is no regulatory issue there at all. Whether or not it's legal to then bring it into Australia is a problem for the buyer to worry about, not Microsoft.

    *Goes to put another nail in the XBone coffin.*

    Oh man! There is no wood left to nail into!

      how is it any different to current xbox360

        You're still able to use it as a gaming machine and not a hyper advanced TiVo!

        Seriously, this nonsense with the next generation consoles has made me crazy.

        This past week I played a SNES, Mega Drive and now a N64. I do not know what is stranger. The fact I am cycling though the retro consoles or the fact I am getting more fun in half hour sprints with those consoles than two hour sessions on the HD consoles (360 and PS3).

          Hmmm how the uninformed bandwagon keeps rolling...

          The interesting part is that you played a Snes, Megadrive and N64 - At the end of the Xbone's life, they will shut down the servers like EA does on a regular basis.. so what happens to the Xbone at that point?... my guess is that once all the servers go down forever, your Xbone (if anyone actually buys it) will become an oversized paper weight that wont play games anymore, let alone do anything else because it has to be online...

          You will still be able to play your Snes, Megadrive and N64 though...

            surely they can utilise some sort of update or whatever when they shut the servers down to enable people to play offline?

        Exactly. The current Xbox is region locked too but how many publishers decide to utilise the restriction? Hint: nearly none. Not even first party Microsoft Game Studios titles are region locked. When I took my Australian Xbox to America I didn't hesitate buy any game I wanted and I didn't find a single one that was region locked.

        But hey, don't let that stop everyone from freaking out that the sky is falling. Continue on band wagon.

          I assume you bought the "AAA" titles and whatnot such as ME and the like right?

          Unfortunately I import niche jp and jrpgs Which *are* region lockedc 90% of the time. Then again I'm probably just a random blip in the marketing radar *shrugs*

    Sigh... I remember when I used to get excited for new consoles.

      Agree, the only thing I was thinking when I read this news was "Le sigh". From an excitement score between -10 and 10, the PS4 is scoring a 1 (Nothing bad, nothing good, +1 point because I'm a Sony enthusiast) while the Xbone is scoring a -2 (Always on-line, region lock, no game sharing with friends, +1 for controller).

    XBox One!? Seems more likely they should have called it XBox Fail!

      Or better yet, the XBox Lost.

        *Obligatory XBone comment*

          Sorry, I was poking fun at how One also sounds like Won. As they say on the Internet, epic fail on my behalf.

        I quite like the name Xbox One, because there is only one reason to buy it, carrying over gamerscore.

        Last edited 28/05/13 10:02 am

          Either that or they only have to make 'one' of them and call it day. Purely because no-one is going to want to buy any of them!

    Region Locking = pointless. If you want to do something illegal, you aren't going to be worried by region locking. Region locking only irritates people doing the right thing and buying their media.

      They're not concerned about people doing illegal stuff. They're concerned about doing legal stuff that they don't like, such as importing games from other regions where they're cheaper, lending games to friends or buying used games.

        And exactly why it is dumb. Make doing legal stuff easier, we do legal stuff. Make legal stuff hard and not reasonable on price, then things are done......differently.

    This is just the icing on the cake. Even if I could get past the inability to share games, I'm done buying region locked devices. I won't pick up a wii U for the same reason.

    Be interesting to see if MS or a third party publisher take it to the next level. Considering each game is registered with a CD Key on purchase, I can imagine them locking the CD Keys to the country of purchase, to be used with country specific hardware and account.

      There will be angry mobs with pitchforks and torches if they make UK ozgameshop games not work here.

        They said that it'll work on the lines of the current system, implying that Australia will still be part of Europe.

      But... but... that would be downright evil!

      Stay near your phone, you may well be getting a job offer from MS soon if you're coming up with those kinds of ideas.

    If the ps4 is region free like the ps3 then this will be another nail in the coffin.

      Yeah Sony have had region free now for what, 7 years?
      Way to keep up M$

    depends what the regions are like. If it's country orientated or similar to the regions that DVDs had then it's terrible. If it's a case of PAL or NTSC then not such bad news. Aussie gamers like to import though seeing as the ridiculous markups we see will most likely continue and if they restrict the options to import, well then, Sony I hope you don't follow suit.

      Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the One bluray? Then PAL and NTSC is irrelevant.

      PS4 hopefully continues its trend from PSP, PS3 and PSV of being region free.

      Honest question (as I dont understand the tech) but with Digital TV, HD displays and modern consoles is PAL and NTSC even relevant anymore?

        HD displays and modern consoles is PAL and NTSC even relevant anymore?

        No, it isn't any more. All display devices today are capable of adapting to the source material.

          It hasn't even really been relevant since the gamecube/ps2/original x-box generation, as even CRTs sold in PAL regions since about 2000 have included NTSC display ability (heck, the last CRTs that we had was compatible with all three major analogue formats, NTSC, PAL and SEACAM).

          Heck, a large number of early region 4 and EU region 2 dvds were NTSC encoded, either due to laziness or due to a lack of a PAL source (one of the early Dr who DVDs had this issue, where all they had was a converted NTSC, and converting back would have made it look even worse with the upscaling algorithms that were available back around 2001).

          Standards issues have been irrelevant to people in PAL and SEACAM regions for a very long time.

          I thought the Americans still liked to be different just because? Either way, there's still probably some people playing on an old analogue TV somewhere.

          So it's just a case of the publishers wanting to region lock certain products then. I have a feeling that this is just Microsoft putting it in there for the publishers who want to lock their games, but most probably won't

        Largely no, but corporate divisions formed along those lines over recent decades and they haven't got around to reorganising them. So agreements will be made for a region that'll include places that have historically been lumped together, not because they _should_ be together.

    "similar to 360" means?

    The 360 wasn't region locked, the games were, but this is making it sound like it'll be region locked like recent Nintendo stuff is (locked to a region so PAL consoles can never (legally) play US games).

    But if it is like the 360 then while the majority of US games would be region locked, some would be region free and work on our PAL consoles.

    And of course there's an extreme case where Australia has its own region (so can't play imported European games), but this seems highly unlikely.

    Either way, region locking is shit. But as long as I can still import cheaper stuff from the UK then it's manageable, but not preferred.

    A Microsoft rep confirmed to Digital Trends that, yes, the Xbox One will be region locked and, yes, that region locking will look similar to the method used on the Xbox 360.

    The 360 itself actually wasn't region locked.

    However, the game publishers had the option to region lock their games if they wanted to. So you ended up with some games that were region locked and others that weren't. Bizzarely, even game from the same publisher weren't an example Red Dead Redemption was region free, but Grand Theft Auto 4 was region locked.

    This on the other hand sounds like it might be a unified system that takes a page out of Nintendo's book.

    Last edited 28/05/13 10:16 am

    I'd say this was very much expected news. No surprises here.

    The main thing that irritates me is the way they continually lie about their reasoning. 'Region locking is about ratings?' Yeah... That... 'By having your console connected to the cloud all the time it can do processing for you!' Ok... That worked out well last time it was tried. Etc.

    So, shopping is becoming global and Microsoft are moving in the opposite direction. That can only be labelled as archaic. I can deal with all the other issues with the XboxOne but taking consumer choice away from me is a big no-no. I'll reserve my judgement for after E3 but I think this has put the nail in the coffin.

      The Xbox 360 was region locked too but virtually no publishers took enforced it.

    As an avid 360 gamer I think I'll be awaiting final confirmation on the actual implementation before I jump to conclusions however if it stops me from grabbing games from the UK at half the price we have them here then I'll be saving myself a lot of money and not grabbing this one.

      But the 360 was region locked and you could still buy PAL games from the uk. I don't even understand your reasoning.

        That is exactly what I'll be waiting for. Right now they're saying it's comparable to the 360 - but that's no guarantee. They may decide AU/NZ are a separate region and then publishers can still continue to chrge us the Australia tax. I won't buy a console that that forces me to pay twice what others around the world pay.

    The 360 was region locked. How is this news? Why is everyone acting surprised? Find another band wagon to jump on. It seems that since the mass effect 3 uproar everyone now things that if they complain on the internet long enough they'll get what they want.

    If they're saying it's like X360, that means that to region or not is left up to the publisher. Many of the 360 publishers (notably IIRC Microsoft themselves & Ubisoft) never regioned their games. Some of them (Namco Bandai the worst of them) would region everything as tightly as possible.

    I expect it'll be the same thing here. Wouldn't be surprised if the used games bullshit ends up being left up to the publishers too.

    I didn't think this would happen, but I officially hit the "I don't care about next-gen" level of hype. I guess when I get tired of current-gen, my productivity and family time at home is just gonna go up.

      Was about to type the same thing. Big entertainment is demanding more and more concessions from the consumer while claiming its all to provide a better service. D3 and Sim City have exposed this for the con that it is.

    Ah! I finally understand why it's called the Xbox One! Microsoft are living in the past!

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