It was recently revealed during a surprise Nintendo Direct that the Big N will begin region locking the left hand side of TV screens to be blacked out no matter what region you are in. Citing their desire to fight back rampant piracy and their dedication to to do anything and everything in order to sidestep the conversation of actually removing pointless region locking, Nintendo released the video to upset fans who quickly took to YouTube comments to insult CEO Satoru Iwata’s haircut and the past experiences of his mother.
Nintendo defended their half-screen region locking in a press release after their Direct with the following statement:
How often have you been playing Wind Waker or one of the other three games available on the Wii U and said to yourself, “I’m seeing way too much of my TV screen?” We’re guessing a lot. Because of that, we have taken the liberty of removing half of your viewable display area and making the left side of TV screens available to North America, and the right side of the screen available to Europeans. Look, we’d like to not have to do this but money and it’s hard or something, I don’t know.
As of this console generation, Nintendo is the last holdout when it comes to region locking as both Microsoft and Sony have removed the needlessly intrusive practice entirely from their respective consoles. But, following the large amount of backlash and negativity towards the Nintendo announcement, Microsoft is considering doing the same for the Xbox One.
“In the past few months people have really started to like our console again,” current Xbox head Phil Spencer told MOARGeek, “When we took away DRM and eventually stopped forcing people to buy the Kinect we admit we went a bit too far in giving gamers what they actually want. Based on the amount of people burning Wii U’s in the streets, we believe that Nintendo has the right idea here with their half-screen region locking.” Spencer went on to tell us that he applauds Nintendo’s ability to continually annoy and still make money off their customers and it is something that Microsoft strives for.
When later asked how the new policy will effect the upcoming Smash Bros Wii U Iwata responded, “Smash Bros Wii U will be the first game to feature this revolutionary pro-consumer policy. It is our hope that you will realize we hate you for buying a Wii U instead of a 3DS and you should be punished for it.” Iwata also explained to the concerned fan that the left half of Super Smash Bros Wii U will be made available in North America on Nov 21st, and the right half following shortly after in Europe on Dec 5th. “By splitting up these release dates we will ensure that our console sales won’t grow too fast. The last thing we want is for gamers to rush out and buy the Wii U all at once. Do you know how expensive these things are to build? We aren’t made of money,” he stated.
Fans interested in actually playing the entirety of their game without half the screen being needlessly taken away are already preparing for the move. As forum user, xbOxDONT68 said in his post on NeoGAF explaining how to bypass the region lock, “All you need to do is buy one Wii U from NAFTA and one from PAL, as well as one copy of Smash Bros Wii U from each region. Then, simply put two TV’s side-by-side, close your eyes, punch yourself repeatedly in the stomach and cry yourself to sleep. Unfortunately you will still live in a world where companies add stupid region locking, but at least you’ll be alone in total darkness and unimaginable pain.”
At press time it was revealed that Nintendo has announced a new Oculus Rift competitor where the ability to hear out of your left ear is available exclusively to gamers in Guatemala.