If you want to play a Nintendo Wii U game from a region other than your own, you'll have to buy a console from the same place. A Japanese disc won't work in an American system. It's an old practice in the entertainment industry called region locking and it's used to help control prices and consumer demand. The practice is starting to fall out of favor as video game fans have been able to import unreleased games from other countries; Sony opened up the PlayStation 3 to international games, for instance, and the PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Xbox One will follow suit when released later this year. Modern Nintendo machines, however, hold fast to the old ways. Now a group of Wii U owners have appealed to Nintendo via Miiverse to put an end to the practice of region locking. Kotaku has the story.
Nintendo fans are congregating on Twitter, the Wii U's Miiverse, and message boards like NeoGAF. Their goal: get the 3DS and Wii U region-free, so people can play Nintendo games from any country.
I was in a local used game store over the weekend and while browsing the GameCube section, I found a copy of Doshin the Giant. Doshin was never released in North America; this was a European disc for sale. Thanks to its rare nature in this country, the store was asking $80 for it. I couldn't do anything with it if I'd bought it since I do not own a European GameCube, so I had to leave it behind. Had Nintendo done away with region locking a decade ago, I could have bought the game and played it on my American console. I wish the Miiverse petitioners good luck, but as long as Nintendo holds its iron-clad values when it comes to international release strategy, I wouldn't count on the company unlocking its hardware anytime soon.