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Kaplan Ambiguous On Wii Region Free Status

Nintendo of America vice president of marketing and corporate communications, Perrin Kaplan has addressed questions regarding whether Wii software will be region free, in...
Nintendo of America vice president of marketing and corporate communications, Perrin Kaplan has addressed questions regarding whether Wii software will be region free, in a new mini-Q&A session conducted by consumer website IGN. When asked whether Wii games would be region free, allowing them to be played on any console bought anywhere in the world, Kaplan answered: “Clearly, the success of Nintendo DS has offered a lot of lessons about what works in the marketplace - and we certainly intend to keep our fans satisfied. For the Wii system, we are finalizing all the relevant details and will be making announcements in the coming months.” Appearing to somewhat misunderstand the question Kaplan then continued, “We will share a lot of ways people can play globally, regionally, without boundaries. You're right that the region-free approach has proved to be a successful and attractive feature for Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection on Nintendo DS - we have even blown the doors off our own anticipated numbers! Cost, ease-of-use and player privacy are the three things that were a focus for us with Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. Those priorities also will apply to the Wii system." Although Kaplan at first seems to all but confirm region free software, the latter half of the answer could mean that she was only ever discussing the Wii’s online features. Region protection software in Nintendo’s consoles has traditionally been less robust than from other manufacturers, with Nintendo usually preferring to disrupt the grey import market by threatening to sue Western (and particularly European) stores which sell imported titles. However, with Sony already claiming that the PlayStation 3 will be region free, Nintendo may be considering altering their policy. Certainly, as the interview suggests, the Nintendo DS has a thriving import market, with many Japanese titles remaining unreleased in the West, and different titles available at markedly different times in both North America and Europe.

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